June 25, 2016


Presents opened, but bargain hunting doesn’t stop for some

MEDINA — Christmas may be over, but for some the shopping has just begun.

Several Medina County stores were offering post-holiday discounts Sunday, and shoppers were quick to take advantage.

Mackenzie Bonitz, 11, of Medina, follows her mother Stacy, and her sister Trinity, 6, to their car after a post-Christmas shopping trip to Kohl’s in Medina on Sunday. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY JENNIFER PIGNOLET)

Mackenzie Bonitz, 11, of Medina, follows her mother Stacy, and her sister Trinity, 6, to their car after a post-Christmas shopping trip to Kohl’s in Medina on Sunday. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY JENNIFER PIGNOLET)

Medina resident Stacy Bonitz was out at Kohl’s on North Court Street with her daughters, 11-year-old Mackenzie and 6-year-old Trinity.

Bonitz said they made a lot of returns, but all three walked out of the store with bags in hand.

“They had a lot of good sales,” she said.

Bonitz said they had received rewards for shopping at Kohl’s before the holidays and were eager to take advantage.

As far as the post-holiday rush, Bonitz said she tried to avoid it as much as possible by shopping later in the afternoon.

“It was better than I thought it would be,” she said of the lines at the store.

At the Target across the street, Carol Bosley, the store’s executive team leader of human resources, said they were busy all day with customers taking advantage of holiday discounts.

She said the store opened early at 7 a.m., and had all its seasonal and holiday-themed items on sale for 50 percent off.

“It’s been very busy today,” Bosley said. “Mostly it’s people trying to get holiday deals.”

She said the fact that the actual gift-giving holidays had passed did not mean the store was any less busy.

Bosley said there had been a moderate flow of people doing returns as well.

“Mainly today it’s just the holiday stuff,” she said. “Get that wrapping paper for next year — that kind of stuff.”

Nationally, a snowstorm on the East Coast put a damper on after-Christmas shopping there, but shoppers across the rest of the country searched clearance racks and spent their gift cards.

Blizzard warnings stretched from New Jersey to Maine. Forecasters expected up to 20 inches of snow in Philadelphia and Boston and up to 16 inches in New York City.

“The forecast will tend to keep (shoppers) at home. It’s not the best day for shopping,” said Scott A. Bernhardt, chief operating officer at weather research firm Planalytics.

The storm had malls from the Carolinas through New Jersey closing early, including MacArthur Center in Norfolk, Va., and three Tanger Outlets centers in Delaware and on Long Island, N.Y.

The timing could have been worse for retailers. Last year, a snowstorm hit the East Coast the Saturday before Christmas, costing them about $2 billion lost sales.

“People will just wait a day to do exchanges and use their gift cards. It’s no big deal,” said Greg Maloney, CEO of the retail practice of Jones Lang LaSalle, which manages malls across the country.

Besides the East Coast, shoppers came out in force on Sunday. The nation’s largest mall, the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., expected 100,000 shoppers. A respite from heavy snow that’s battered the Twin Cities brought in the big crowd.

The mall expects its stores’ holiday revenue to rise 8 percent over last year, mall spokesman Dan Jasper said.

So far, it’s been the best holiday season for retailers since 2007, which was a record year. The week ending Jan. 1 makes up less than 10 percent of the Nov 1-Dec. 31 season but accounts for more than 15 percent of holiday spending, research firm ShopperTrak says. Analyst say holiday season spending is on track to rise 3 to 4 percent, the best percentage increase since 2006.

The snow will send some shoppers online, where sales have been strong compared with last year. Online spending rose more than 16 percent the week ending Christmas Day, IBM Coremetrics said. The average order rose 13 percent to $192.52.

From Nov. 1 through Dec. 19, total online spending rose 12 percent to $28 billion, according to research firm comScore Inc.

At Atlantic Station in downtown Atlanta, shopping picked up in late morning as a rare snowfall began melting.

Shelly Melby, 43, said her family will likely spend $400 to $500 on post-Christmas deals.

“Just looking at the sales,” she said. “The kids are looking for clothes.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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