Shoppers begin the post-Christmas rush

The Christmas shopping rush may be over, but another rush is just beginning.Shoppers packed local stores and malls Friday to return or exchange unwanted gifts from Christmas. Others set out to use gift cards they received. The National Retail Foundation said that gift cards will account for about eight percent of all holiday sales this year. And a survey revealed that close to 40 percent plan to use gift cards immediately.Stores are also hoping to get a boost in sales by offering post-Christmas bargains. Stores such as Macy's and Ann Taylor were offering between 50 percent to 75 percent off items. Sales figures indicate that business this season will turn out to be only slightly better than last year. Retailers believe one reason is because the Northeast was hit with snow storms two consecutive weekends. The season also didn't have many "need-to-have" items, and the economy is first starting to rebound.Some shoppers decided to bypass malls totally. Reports stated that more people did their shopping online this year than ever before. One estimate said online shopping totaled $13 billion this year, a 50 percent increase from last year.

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