Day-After Christmas Shopping Hits Northland

By KBJR News 1

December 27, 2012 Updated Dec 27, 2012 at 6:58 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - As Northlanders began to pour into the Miller Hill Mall in Duluth Wednesday, it became clear what was bringing them out in droves: breaking in those fresh gift cards.

"I ended up spending at least $40 in gift cards today—I got three of them," said Duluth resident Mike Kent.

"We only have gift cards—that's all we have. We all have Chase gift cards, and Target and Wal–Mart gift cards," said Darien Parker, of Superior.

Gift cards tend to be the dominant currency during day–after Christmas sales, as many people resort to them for last–minute gift ideas. Employees at Caribou Coffee Miller Hill estimate that last holiday season saw the sale of 17,000 gift cards. If each of those was worth $10, that's $170,000 in lattes.

But many shoppers utilize them for far more than that next cup of coffee.

"[I use mine for] clothes, shoes, Target—all sorts of stuff," said Eveleth resident Stephanie Lindgren.

"[I] went to Subway, got lunch and spent a gift card, [then] went back to Hot Topic [and] spent another gift card," said Kent.

"I think it's a really easy way to shop," said Parker.

...promising news for retailers who had to compete with a 17% increase in on–line sales, which is also why 40–75% off door–buster sales are so prevalent on the 26th. Retailers say they expect the boost to come from consumers spending over their gift card limit.

And what's the other element that drives day–after Christmas sales? Returns.

According to MasterCard the last week in December makes up 15% of holiday sales, and exchanges will make up the bulk of that percentage.

According to retailers, keeping the receipt and paying close attention to the allotted return period are the top two ways of ensuring your return will be hassle–free.

-posted to the web by Billy Wagness