Retailers look to make up for missed shopping day

Posted December 27, 2010 1:26 p.m. EST
Updated December 27, 2010 6:27 p.m. EST

— Many smaller retailers reopened Monday for the first time since before Christmas, and they said Sunday's snow storm cost them a critical shopping day.

The day after Christmas is traditionally a big day for retailers, as shoppers exchange gifts, cash in on gift cards they received and take advantage of year-end sales. Because the snow made it difficult for many shop owners and their employees to get to work Sunday, the shops remained closed.

"It's usually a big day for us, so it was a big disappointment," said Ellen Barber, manager of SoHo, a clothing store in the Cameron Village shopping center in Raleigh. "(It was) very crucial for us to get in as early as we could (Monday)."

Still, activity was sluggish Monday morning at Cameron Village. Some shops were closed until the afternoon, and although plows had cleared the parking areas, walkways remained crusted with snow and ice.

"I can't believe it," said Jean Drake, who was visiting relatives in Raleigh for Christmas and wanted to get out of the house on Monday. "I'm from Florida, and nobody up here is out. It's a riot."

The National Retail Federation predicts holiday season sales will be up 3.3 percent from last year, totaling more than $450 billion.

Retailers said they expected to see more shoppers late Monday and Tuesday, as people tired of playing in the snow and looked to start spending their Christmas cash.

"I think we just got tired of being inside, and it was nice to get out," shopper Laura Prudhomme said as she browsed a Target in Cary, looking to stock up for next Christmas by buying clearance sale items.

"(I want) to go get some wrapping paper because, this year, I did not get enough. So, I want to be prepared for next year," Prudhomme said.

Because area Target stored closed seven hours early Sunday, managers said they still had a great selection of discounted Christmas merchandise stuff Monday. As roads get clearer and people want to get out more, they said, the items would likely be sold out by the end of Tuesday.

"There are plenty of people who are here once a year, but I shop all the time," Mary Brown said.

Chris Nowak said his wife sent him out to find deals because she had to work. He wasn't thrilled with the idea, but his 9-year-old daughter went along to help.

"I'm a shopping kind of girl, and I'm just like my mom," Jenna Nowak said.