After all of the gifts have been unwrapped and the toys have been put aside, the day after Christmas is usually the time when unwanted gifts are returned and discounts are in abundance. This year, however, the stores saw shorter return lines the day after Christmas. Wednesday’s rain and major storms could have been the reason people stayed indoors.
Christmas gift shopping set new records nationwide this year.
According to a National Retail Federation survey conducted by BIGinsight, “a record 247 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend, up from 226 million last year. Making sure to take advantage of retailers’ promotions to the full extent, the average holiday shopper spent $423 this weekend, up from $398 last year. Total spending reached an estimated $59.1 billion.” The survey counted individual consumers who were shopping on multiple days.
Although shoppers bought more this year than last year, many area retailers believe the adverse weather on Dec. 26 reduced the number of people willing to venture outside to return or exchange gifts.
Melinda Borom, store manager of the Walmart supercenter on U.S. 74 in Rockingham, said, “It wasn’t really that busy.”
She said the reason could be because more people bought what other’s wanted or it could have been because of the downpour that occurred Wednesday.
At RadioShack on East Broad Avenue in Rockingham, manager on duty Paige Lewis said that although the store was very busy, last holiday season was busier than this year. “It was mostly returns and exchanges but we also had a lot of people looking for accessories.” She said that the store had more sales last year. “More sales means more returns usually,” Lewis said.
JCPenney, located on East Broad Avenue in Rockingham, saw an upswing in business Wednesday afternoon, when the worst of the storm had passed. “We were busier earlier today and later yesterday,” store manager Terry Greene said on Thursday.
Michelle Hollifield, store manager of Belk’s, said she saw more customers after lunch Wednesday, when the rain subsided. The difference between Wednesday and Thursday was that on Thursday the customer traffic was steady. “People were constantly in and out,” she said Thursday.
Making sure you have the right information when trying to return an unwanted gift will make the process easier, retailers advise. Make sure to check the return policy for the store where the gift came from, and have the receipt if possible. Return policies vary from store to store so make sure to check before trying to return anything.
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.