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Steep discounts draw shoppers on day after Christmas

Michelle VanDermey shops State Street Chicago Thursday afternoduring busy shopping day full after Christmas deals. | Michael R. Schmidt-For Sun-Times

Michelle VanDermey shops on State Street in Chicago Thursday afternoon during a busy shopping day full of after Christmas deals. | Michael R. Schmidt-For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 28, 2014 6:27AM

Bright signs boasting big markdowns were enough to send State Street shoppers into a frenzy the day after Christmas — one of the top 10 busiest shopping days in the country.

At Old Navy and H&M clothing stores, a steady flow of customers rushed in, lured by signs in the window advertising 75 percent off merchandise.

Michelle Vandermey stopped into nearby Macy’s to buy her dream gift, a mixer.

“I’ve been saving up gift cards for a while and I got some for Christmas and I’m using that one to get the ultimate KitchenAid mixer,” said Vandermey, 44, who lives in the Loop. “I thought it was a really good deal. I’m pretty excited.”

The day after Christmas is typically a great day for deals. And some retailers got an early online start this year. Kohl’s and Target posted their big deals online on Christmas Day.

Although not yet able to measure Thursday’s sales, digital analysts at comScore, which measures online sales, predicted a 14 percent boost in online sales through Dec. 22. Instead, it saw a 10 percent boost, compared to last year. Adam Lella, an analyst with comScore, said the shortened holiday season is to blame.

“Just having those less heavy shopping days total makes it a little less predictable,” Lella said. “[Online] sales were a little bit disappointing.”

But those out to catch some good deals in person walked away with some steals Thursday.

“I got a couple of good deals, a car vacuum for $5 and a racecar for my godson for $7,” said Javida Boddy, of Englewood, who was both returning and buying items at Macy’s on Thursday.

“This is my day, the day after Christmas. It’s perfect for finding deals,” Boddy, 36, said.

The National Retail Federation this year predicted a 3.9 percent growth in holiday sales, despite a shorter holiday season.

ShopperTrak, the shopping research firm, estimates the day after Christmas to be the seventh busiest shopping day of the year in terms of sales, and the fifth busiest day in terms of shopper traffic, according to spokeswoman Teresa Burgin.

“Obviously the sales today are affected because a lot of things are on markdown. You also have returns going against sales . . . retailers are seeing a lot of merchandise moving but they may not see it in total sales, because of the impact of returns and markdowns.

Burgin said Saturday is also projected to be in the top 10 in terms of sales as well.

“Those of us who are working today, we have to wait until Saturday to go out and do our shopping or exchange our gifts,” Burgin said.

Burgin said day-after Christmas sales are typically better when Christmas falls on a Monday, Friday or a weekend, since most people have the following day off. Since Christmas fell on a Wednesday this year, many were back to work on Thursday, missing some good deals.

Wal-Mart on Thursday boasted its “Super Saving Celebration,” which included thousands of items at 25 to 50 percent off. Those include a Nintendo 3DS XL System at $199.96 with a $50 Wal-Mart gift card, and a 60-inch Vizio HDTV for $998.

“Some of those items are Christmas supplies, toys and other merchandise across the store,” said Molly Blakeman, Wal-Mart spokeswoman. “There’s also some big discounts on merchandise customers are looking to use their gift cards on.”

But for some, the day after Christmas is about spending time — and money — with family.

“It’s kind of a family tradition for us to keep it simple the day after Christmas,” Chuck Young, 50, of Crystal Lake said, alongside his two sons, Brad, 22 and Evan, 21. “We came down here to spend time together as a family, and take advantage of the sales. The kids can buy what they want and we get to spend more time as a family.”


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