Retailers report brisk sales, low returns

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 29, 2005

The day after Christmas is traditionally one in which retailers are wrapped up with heavy returns and exchanges.

While many local retailers reported a busy day, most did not get the crush of returns generally anticipated on Dec. 26.

As of mid-afternoon on Monday the Greenville Wal-Mart SuperCenter's parking lot was a sea of cars. A number of customers were sighted wheeling carts filled with purchases back to their vehicles.

&#8220It's been a very busy day for us. We re-opened at 6 a.m. and we didn't start seeing many returns until about 11-11:30 a.m. Even then, we weren't getting a real rush of returns,” Bill McCrary, Wal-Mart store manager, said.

The store had ten employees trained to handle returns and exchanges through two checkout lanes and the store's customer service desk.

However, most shoppers seemed to be coming into the big retailer in search of those after-Christmas bargains Monday.

Linda Daniel of Greenville was combing the &#8220holiday shop” aisles, looking for good buys to set aside for Christmas 2006.

&#8220No, I didn't come to return anything. I'm buying a lot of the marked-down Christmas items…wow, look at these little gift bags,” Daniel exclaimed as she picked up several lunch-size &#8220goodie bag” designs.

&#8220We give a lot of photos, and these would be perfect for the four by six-inch pictures,” she said with a grin.

Jeanette Sikes of Honoraville was simply concentrating on her grocery shopping at Wal-Mart.

&#8220I'm just stocking up on some basic things – and getting some of these sweet items they have on sale while I am here,” Sikes said as she pointed out some bargain-priced holiday edibles in her shopping cart.

By late afternoon on Monday, McCrary was calling his day-after-Christmas &#8220exceptional.”

&#8220It's been a very busy and a very good day. We are getting ready for a great year to come.”

At the Greenville CVS Pharmacy, business had also been brisk, Jessica Hittell, photo lab technician, said on Monday afternoon.

&#8220We opened at 8 a.m. – it's been busy ever since,” Hittell said.

The pharmacy was selling many half-price seasonal items, including wrapping paper, gift bags and bows.

Christmas memories captured on film and camera cards were also keeping the photo lab hopping, Hittell said.

&#8220We've had tons of Christmas pictures brought in to be developed today.”

Returns at the CVS had been light, Hittell said. &#8220I'm sure we will see some returns – but I don't think it will be too big a concern for us.”

It was &#8220sell, sell, sell” at The Pineapple downtown on Monday. The gift shop offered a 50 percent discount throughout the store, a Monday-only offer many local shoppers apparently could not refuse.

&#8220It's been a busy, busy day, really, all day today,” store manager Katrina Scofield said late afternoon.

Shortly after The Pineapple opened at 9 a.m. Monday afternoon, &#8220the lines ran down the counter and snaked back around through the store,” Sheryl Perdue, a sales associate at the store, commented.

Customers at the gift shop were buying clothing, jewelry, home accessories, Christmas d\u00E9cor items – &#8220really, a little bit of everything.”

At Fred's Discount Store in Gateway Plaza, doors opened at 8 a.m. Monday morning.

Customers came ready to do plenty of after-Christmas shopping, manager Randy Beeson said.

&#8220Apparently a lot of people got cash for Christmas, because they sure came in spending it,” Beeson said with a grin.

&#8220I think we will see a lot of activity this week, especially once folks get that next paycheck on Friday.”

A hot-ticket item at Fred's on Monday proved to be their selection of portable CD players.

&#8220Everybody wanted those Walkman-type players, it seemed. We've already sold out of them,” Beeson said.

Christmas wrap, tree and home d\u00E9cor items, all discounted to half-price, were not selling as well on Monday.

&#8220I think for things like that, people are waiting for the next paycheck – and then we will probably see a rush on those items, too,” Beeson said.

The Fred's manager said he is excited about the year to come at his store.

&#8220We should have our pharmacy coming in by February. We already have the new coolers for dairy products and frozen foods…this should be a great year for Fred's in Greenville.”