SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — From Sioux Falls to Aberdeen, people may be exchanging holiday gifts, but others are still shopping.
“A lot of people postponed Christmas until New Year’s weekend,” said Alissa Battest, the daughter of the owners of the Hitch’n Post Western Wear in Aberdeen.
Battest was working on Monday, Dec. 26, a day that is often dedicated to returning or exchanging Christmas gifts, according to retail industry experts.
But this year was not a typical Christmas shopping season or a typical Christmas.
Snow fell across the state from Dec. 12 through at least Dec. 16 and the weather closed roads or made travel difficult which changed shopping plans for some people. Temperatures dropped below zero and high winds soared in for the week of Dec. 19 to Dec. 24. That caused ground blizzards and closed roads and changed plans. Some travelers got stranded around the state including in Sioux Falls.
“We had shopping because people were stranded here. They weren’t equipped,” said DeAnn Echols, who owns the Great Outdoor Store in Sioux Falls. Those stranded travelers shopped for coats, gloves, hats and scarves last week, she said.
Echols said shoppers even ventured out on Thursday, Dec. 22, “when it was absolutely the worst, we were busy,” Echols said. “I think what happened was people thought they had all this time…”
Like Battest, Echols said the weather may have changed holiday plans for some of the shoppers who were in the store on Monday.
As of about 11:15 a.m., Echols said shoppers were exchanging Christmas gifts and she expected more exchanges but also Christmas shopping later in the day and throughout the week.
“We are seeing both,” Battest said at the Hitch’n Post. “People are still doing their shopping because they postponed Christmas because of the weather.”
The National Retail Federation said retailers expect 17.9% of all merchandise sold for the holiday will be returned this year. Billions of dollars of gifts will be exchanged or returned.
At both stores, exchanges are happening more frequently than returns.
“They are loving what they got but want a different size,” Battest said is an example of a reason for an exchange.
Historically, “most of what we do our exchanges,” Echols said. If the right size or color of product is not in the store, it usually be ordered for the customer, she said.
“It’s part of the service we provide,” Echols said of exchanges and ordering the correct product if not in the store.
Both stores said gift cards are common.