Weatherford Democrat

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December 26, 2013

Shoppers seek post-Christmas sales

By SALLY SEXTON

A second round of Christmas shopping began Thursday morning, as store parking lots gradually filled from people out seemingly searching out post-Christmas sales, making returns or using gift cards left by Santa.

Some people took advantage of big discounts on items like Christmas wrapping paper and lights to get an early start on next year.

Betsy Hickerson, of Willow Park, hit up Target to load up on Christmas wrapping paper.

“I got some for $1 a roll, so I think I’m all set for next year,” she said. “After this, I’m thinking about stopping at Best Buy to see if they have any deals.”

Store employees said that while business had picked up a bit, they expect even more people this weekend.

“We’ve had a lot of returns and people were buying mostly clothes and stuff,” Megan Williams, a jewelry expert at JCPenney, said.

“All of our Christmas stuff is about 70 percent off,” said Erica Avina, sales team manager at Belk.

Stores usually wait until after Christmas to offer discounts of up to 70 percent or more on holiday merchandise that didn’t sell. But Americans who are still worried about the economy have held tightly to their purse strings this year, and store sales have fallen for the past three consecutive weeks.

Retailers are feeling pressure to attract Americans into stores during what’s typically the busiest shopping period of the year. The two-month stretch that begins on Nov. 1 is important because retailers can make up to 40 percent of their annual sales during that time.

Sales at U.S. stores dropped 3.1 percent to $42.7 billion for the week that ended on Sunday compared with the same week last year, according to ShopperTrak, which tracks data at 40,000 locations. That follows a decline of 2.9 percent and 0.8 percent during the first and second weeks of the month, respectively.

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