Local News

Many Happy Returns -- And New Purchases

Posted December 26, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST

— The holiday shopping season isn't over yet. The stores are busy with people searching for bargains -- and with returns and exchanges.

The weather is still cold, but that can't stop the after Christmas crowd from jamming the streets heading for the mall.

Inside Cary Towne Center, all you see are crowds and sale signs. The perfect time to buy Christmas decorations. Some shoppers have a ready answer: "It's for next year. Why pay full price?"

Debbie Culbreth says her daughter Rebecca gave her no choice but to load up shopping bags with more gifts.

"I didn't want to, but it's her birthday. I can't wait to get home and sit down!"

Retailers are hoping shoppers will keep pounding the mall floors.

Managers of stores and malls are hoping for a lot of sales, rather than exchanges and returns, to boost the revenues for the holiday season.

Merchants in December fret about the weather as much as any citrus grower does. Warm weather, which much of the nation had well into December, keeps people out of stores -- and away from coats, hats, mufflers, gloves and sweaters.

It took a plunge in temperatures to lure shoppers into the malls -- and then an ice storm hit most of the South.

Consequently, the after-Christmas sales are very important to merchants. With prices up to 60 percent off, Willie Vick says low prices are paying off.

"It's phenomenal. People coming from everywhere, from up north places," Vick says.

But all the business means somebody's left holding the bag -- or bags.

"This is for my wife. I'm just tagging along," says Bill Porter.

"I'm the bag man. I carry all the purchases," says Kellum Phipps.