Customers slam local retailers with returns, after Christmas shopping
With the holiday behind us, shoppers' sights are now set on after Christmas bargains and hitting the long return line.
"Most of our staff works today. All of our registers, we try to keep them open all day long for everybody to get in and out as quick as they can."
John Balsamo manages Academy Sports in Bossier City. He says the store has a table set up specifically for returns and to keep customers from having to wait.
"Once they get through at the table, they go over - we have six registers open to handle the return rush."
But despite the steady stream of customers looking to drop more Christmas dough, overall, early indications are that holiday spending in the U.S. this year seems to have fallen flat.
According to SpendingPulse, which captures data from October 28 through December 24, sales of electronics, Clothing, jewelry and home goods increased only 0.7%, well below the 3 to 4% analysts expected.
Still, retailers have time to make up lost ground, with the final week of December accounting for about 15% of the month's sales for most companies.
And with deep discounts to lure shoppers in, 2012 may just end on a high note.
"We do a tremendous gift card business. Everybody that got a gift card is coming in to try to get everything before it's gone," says Balsamo.
If you're one of those headed to customer service with a return, keep in mind that many places will accept gift items without a receipt - just don't expect to get much more than a store credit or gift card.
Also, Not all online purchases can be returned to the store, although many companies are becoming more lenient about that policy because of the popularity of online shopping.
Many malls and retailers opened early today - and will be staying open late - to make returning those un-wanted items easier.
If you have questions about return policy or store hours, call ahead first.
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