Business

Long lines greet post-Christmas deal seekers

Posted December 26, 2008 7:28 a.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:11 p.m. EDT

— The parking lot was crowded at Triangle Town Center Friday as shoppers tried to return unwanted gifts and take advantage of drastic price cuts.

Those who turned out early Friday were looking to spend and save. "We're just trying to get some bargains and take advantage of all the sales post-Christmas," shopper Stephen Furs said.

Pointing to her bags, Nellie Basnet said, "I got some bargains in there."



Those who found deals paid for them with lots of time in long lines.

Kelly Wilson and her friends found their 20-minute wait worth the savings. "On Christmas Eve, the shirt was originally $14.99. My mom almost got it for $11.99. Today she got it for $3.84," she shared.

Hudson Belk opened its doors before dawn in hopes of making up for what has been a dismal holiday shopping season. Cashiers worked non-stop to serve the bargain seekers.

"It's crowded and crazy," Christina Curan said.

She and her family came out to return a few Christmas gifts, but spent more time in the mall than they had hoped.

"The lines were pretty long, but I liked the sales," Kayluh Freeman said.

Retailers, who have been cutting prices all season, offered more deals after Christmas to get rid of old merchandise and boost their less-than-cheery holiday sales.

The holiday season – which typically accounts for 30 percent to 50 percent of a retailer's annual total sales – has been less than jolly for most retailers. Job cuts, portfolio losses and other economic woes have convinced consumers to cut back on their spending.

A report issued by SpendingPulse, a service that measures retail data for MasterCard, indicated that sales are down by 8 percent from last December. Without a significant post-Christmas boost, this could be the worst year for stores since 1969.

Discount seekers and those returning gifts were joined Friday by shoppers looking to spend their holiday gift cards.

"We don't need anything, but we are going to get something," Mallori Branch said. "Just the type of shoppers retailers like, right?"