Shoppers pack malls for after-Christmas sales

Shoppers across the country searched clearance racks and spent gift cards in the afterglow of the best holiday season for retailers since 2007.

December 26, 2010 6:13:09 PM PST
If you are looking for deals on clothing, jewelry or toys Dec. 26 is the day that retailers offer you more for your money. Businesses are after shoppers like Mary Tsao and hoping she is the rule and not the exception.

"I realize I did spend a little more. it seems like there's been more parties more spending more presents, so things are feeling a little better this year," shopper Mary she said.

After-Christmas sales account for a large portion of many retailers' income. David Ezeogu of Things Remembered believes sales are a little flat.

"People are spending more, but there are not as many people shopping," he said.

The National Retail Federation predicts that consumers will spend $451.5 billion in the holiday season starting Nov. 1 and ending Dec. 31 -- a more than three percent increase.

"What they are doing is spending more like five percent more and that's in stores online it's more like 17 or 18 percent. So it's been a stronger holiday season than really anybody predicted retailers or consumers," Golden Gate University Professor Kit Yarrow said.

In San Francisco's Union Square area, some shoppers while concerned about the economy say they're spending as much or a little more as they did last year.

"I'm concerned about the economy but you know they have some very good sales and if we can buy now and save later than that's what we will do," shopper Manuel Valenzuela said.

Holiday sales are an indicator of how people feel about the economy. Yarrow says if consumers feel good about spending an economic recovery could be on the horizon.

"When consumers are spending money, there's more jobs, when unemployment numbers improve people feel more confident. It's really a snowball, so it's good for the economy I think to see people spending more," she said.

Yarrow also says that retailers aren't offering the kinds of deep discounts they offered last year. She says that's a sign that they feel better about sales and want to make a better profit.