Shoppers hunt for post-Christmas bargains

Residents across the Garden State rushed back to malls and shopping centers Wednesday to return or exchange gifts and hunt for bargains.

Kohl's is one store that opened its doors early and will be closing late. The chain is hoping that big discounts and special sales will help lure customers in and help their December sales figures.

Macy's, Saks 5th Avenue and Toys "R" Us are other stores running sales the day after Christmas. The toy retailer is offering 40 percent price cuts on all of its accessories for iPods and MP3 players.

Many stores in the Jersey Garden and Livingston malls have sales of up to 70 percent off the day after Christmas. Retailers hoped the post-Christmas sales would attract bargain shoppers, but many people made the trip to the mall to use gift cards or make returns.

Experts say gift cards given as holiday presents are another reason for the large sales. They say gift cards only count towards sales when they are redeemed, not when they are sold. The National Retail Federation estimates consumers will spend more than $26 billion in gift cards this holiday season.

Analysts say as much as 16 percent of holiday sales take place in the week after Christmas.

Some retailers dread returns as much as shoppers do. ?Somebody returned like $200 worth of stuff,? sales clerk Jennifer Hall says. ?That?s a lot because we got to put it back.?

For those returning items, customers are urged to try to have their receipts and to keep gifts in their original packaging.

Many of the sales offered on Wednesday will be ongoing until the end of the week.

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