Published 12:00 am Friday, December 27, 2013

With major retailers like Kohl’s, Belk and Old Navy advertising prices of 60 to 75 percent off, many Salisbury shoppers took advantage of after-Christmas sales Thursday.
“It’s been a pretty busy day,” said Mike Edwards, Walmart store manager.
He said Walmart typically sells a lot of toys, holiday items and gift wrap in the days following Christmas. The store usually isolates its holiday merchandise Dec. 26 and continues to mark prices down through Jan. 1.
“We’re pushing out as much clearance as we can,” Edwards said.
Kayla Christy, a student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, came from Kannapolis to shop at Belk and Kohl’s in Wallace Commons.
“My granny had the ads at her house at Christmas dinner,” she said.
Christy was looking for things to take back to college for the spring semester.
“I just like to shop all the time,” she said.
Although the sales weren’t as impressive as the ones on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, Christy said more items were in stock.
“There’s nowhere to shop in Kannapolis. You either go to Concord or Salisbury.”
Christy initially went to Concord, but when she couldn’t find what she needed, she came to Salisbury.
“I should have come here first,” she said.
Johnny and Cathy Boggs purchased a toy for their grandchild, but were primarily shopping for themselves at Kohl’s on Thursday morning.
“I think you can get some good deals,” Johnny Boggs said.
The couple used cash and gift cards they received for Christmas on their shopping trip. Between that and the Kohl’s Cash they earned by shopping before Christmas, the Boggses said they hadn’t spent any money out of their own pockets so far.
Cathy Boggs said they were headed to Walmart next for dog food and other “normal stuff,” and they might “get some wrapping paper and stuff for next year.”
Johnny Boggs said his sisters are “shopping pros” and take advantage of after-Christmas sales every year to buy Christmas presents for the next year.
Jeana Grant-Lucas also scoured after-Christmas sales for next Christmas and birthdays throughout the year.
“I shop at the drug stores,” she said. “They have lots of little neat different things.”
She added that there were some “real good” deals at Belk.
Grant-Lucas looks for things such as glassware, wrapping paper and children’s items that won’t go bad and can be mailed or donated to a battered women’s shelter.
Retailers make up to 40 percent of their annual sales during the two-month period between Nov. 1 and the end of the year.
The National Retail Federation estimates that sales in stores and online will be $602.1 billion, up 3.9 percent from 2012. The National Retail Federation is the largest retail group in the nation.
ShopperTrak, which tracks data at 40,000 locations, forecast a 2.4 percent increase in sales for stores during the two-month period compared with the same period in 2012.
Even after three consecutive weeks of slower sales than 2012, ShopperTrak estimates that sales were up 2 percent from last year as of Dec. 22 and should reach the 2.4 percent increase forecast by the end of the year.
According to ShopperTrak, the number of shoppers fell 21.2 percent during the week that ended on Sunday.
Retailers hope deep discounts will help them clear out their Christmas merchandise, as well as make up for the weeks of lower sales.
“The holiday season wasn’t as good as expected. We didn’t meet our projections but the last nine days were encouraging to us,” said Edwards, the manager at Walmart.
There were six fewer shopping days between Black Friday and Christmas Day year, and Edwards said, it was “very hard to make up those six days.”
The weather wasn’t helpful either, he said. It’s hard to sell winter apparel when it’s warm outside.
Cathy Sides, a Rowan County resident for nearly 60 years, opted to give her family cash for Christmas this year rather than gifts.
“You go out and buy presents, and they’re full price,” Sides said.
She said, however, that she found some good after-Christmas deals at Belk. Sides picked up some toys for her great-grandsons’ birthdays, which are in January and May, and several pairs of shoes for herself.
Last year, Cathy Boggs said, she tried shopping online, but missed “being in on the rush” of shopping after Thanksgiving.
“Online lacks the personal touch,” Johnny Boggs added. “The only time I don’t shop locally is if I can’t find it.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Contact reporter Jeanie Groh at 704-797-4222.