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U.S. stores open doors for post-Christmas shopping

U.S. stores open doors for post-Christmas shopping

U.S. retailers ushered in the post-Christmas shopping season on Tuesday by slashing prices even more on holiday items and stocking up on fresh merchandise.
With the 2006 pre-Christmas season turning out to be challenging, merchants were hoping that shoppers, armed with gift cards, would spend freely, snapping up discounted items as well as picking up full-priced merchandise, to boost business in December and in the fourth-quarter.
Federated Department Stores Inc.'s Macy's opened its doors at 7 a.m. and offered discounts ranging from 50 percent to 75 percent. Toys "R" Us Inc. offered 50 percent discounts on selected toys. The toy seller is also showcasing hot toys from 2007 in its stores.
Merchants "are going to use all 31 days in December," said Marshal Cohen, chief analyst at NPD Group Inc., a market research company in Port Washington, New York.
At Carousel Mall in Syracuse, New York, there were more mall walkers than shoppers when J.C. Penney opened its doors at 6 a.m. Pat Dunn of Syracuse, who was browsing around the housewares section looking for sale items, said her trek was an annual affair. And, she said, she was not about to let the cold rain falling outside deter her.
"Everything is so marked up. This is the best time to shop," Dunn said. "This is for next year."
Dunn said she received gift cards for Christmas but was not using any at this time.
"I'll use them later for something for myself," she said.
The post-Christmas season has become more important with the increasing popularity of gift cards. Gift card sales are only recorded on retailers' balance sheet when cards are redeemed.
According to BigResearch, which conducted a poll for the National Retail Federation, consumers are expected to spend a total of $24.81 billion (euro18.81 billion) on gift cards this holiday season, up from $18.48 billion last year.
In 2005, the week ended Saturday Dec. 31 accounted for 15.6 percent of holiday sales, compared with 10.3 percent in the corresponding period in 2004.
A poll of 1,200 shoppers conducted by Kurt Salmon Associates from Nov. 30 to Dec. 5 found that half of respondents said they plan to take advantage of the post-holiday sales.
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AP Writer John Kekis in Albany contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-07-25 14:43 GMT+08:00