PDT Staff Writer
If you didn't know better, and if you didn't have a calendar staring back at you from your wall, you might have thought yesterday was the infamous Black Friday. Retailers' parking lots were full, and shoppers lined the aisles inside.
"It started at six this morning, and we are starting to really fill up," Rebecca Campbell, assistant manager at the New Boston Wal-Mart store, said at around 11 a.m.
Maybe that is why it was being referred to nationwide as "Black Friday 2."
"We have a lot of returns and a lot of sales," Campbell said. "All of our Christmas items went half off today. These are items we won't carry all the time."
Campbell stood at the end of an aisle where people were lined up with loads of items to be returned because they didn't fit, didn't work, or were duplicates.
"We've got 10 registers closed down for today," Campbell said. "They are for returns only, and all of them are busy."
One buggy contained a boxed electric blanket, video games, a pair of pants and a stuffed tiger.
According to Bloomberg.com, consumers spent at least 20 percent less on women's clothing, electronics and jewelry during November and December, resulting in what may be the biggest holiday-shopping sales decline in four decades.
The decline is the worst since MasterCard Advisors started tracking date in 2002 to provide the SpendingPulse service, according to Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis.
"A lot of our customers are wanting to take advantage of the great prices we have on the seasonal merchandise we have left over," Allen Ferguson, store manager at the New Boston Kmart store said. "A lot of our Christmas items go 50 percent off the day after Christmas. We had a pretty big crowd waiting to get in the door this morning when we first opened."
Returns and 50 percent off Christmas items weren't the only reasons people flocked to major retailers Friday.
"Additionally our customers really are taking advantage of gift cards," Ferguson said. "Before the season a lot of people received those as presents and now are coming in to take advantage of that."
Nationwide retailers are still trying to entice consumers with big markdowns, extended hours and other perks.
Ferguson sees the trend as something that will not just be a one-day event.
"I think we will be busy all the way through Monday," Ferguson said.
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101 ext. 232.