Shoppers return gifts, look for bargains

December 26, 2009 (CHICAGO) 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.

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