Shoppers return gifts, look for bargains

December 26, 2009 5:31:14 PM PST
The day after Christmas is a big day for returns and sales for retailers in the homestretch of the holiday shopping season. For those who received Christmas gifts that weren't quite right, the trek back to the store today was for either a refund or exchange.

Others use this day as a chance to find an even bigger bargain.

It was busy but not packed at Target's South Loop store as the annual ritual of bad-gift returns and not-quite-right gift exchanging got underway.

"I'm surprised because after Christmas I was expecting a long line," said Susan Johnson, shopper.

Despite being the weekend it has not been busy in area retaliers, possibly as the results of a still sluggish economy and the unexpected bad weather.

Retailers like Best Buy saw light to modest crowds as online gift purchases and gift cards increase in popularity over the in-store shopping experience.

"The traffic we're seeing is in and out and quick. People have done their research online and people know what they want. It's a little more quick action than browsing," said Lisa Overwater, Best Buy.

According to some industry experts, the week after Christmas can account for anywhere from 10 to 15-percent of holiday sales. The reason is that retailers want to turn a return into a purchase.

To keep the process easy consumer ratings service, Angie's List, offers this advice:

  • if you might return it, don't open it
  • check the store's return policy
  • check the warranty
  • keep the receipt
  • don't proscrastinate

Using those tips Alex Alvarez hopes to come away with a deal on something he really wants.

"I'm actually going to get a different camera," said Alex Alvarez, shopper.

But for other shoppers, like friends Natalie Krajewski and Alyssa Burke -- post holiday shopping means an opportunity to go bargain hunting and hopefully find some great sales and maybe even get a jump on gift-giving for next year.

"Some stores are better than others. Some are like 50-percent off but some say they're on sale, but it still cost a lot of money," said Alyssa Burke, shopper.