After Christmas Shopping

FRESNO, Calif. A steady stream of shoppers flocked to the Target at River Park Saturday. For many, the big draw was the Holiday section, where Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, and holiday items were marked down by 50 percent. "When we opened our doors, there were about 30 people out front, with shopping carts ready to go," said manager Samantha Cole.

Shopper Noune Khatchikian filled her basket with a Christmas tree and ornaments. "I needed a small tree. I have a big one at home so I needed a small one. Some things I buy for next year, to have something different for next year," said Khatchikian.

Managers say the flow of shoppers has been steady, but some customers say they were happily surprised to see shorter lines than they expected. "I thought it would be like a day after Thanksgiving, where it's wrapped around the store and you'd have to wait for an hour in line," said Jeffrey Miller of Reedley.

Gary Smith of Coarsegold traveled to Fresno to exchange one of his son's Christmas presents. The remote controlled helicopter broke during its inaugural flight. "It wasn't a problem, I didn't have to wait in line, so it worked out real good," said Smith.

Nationwide, retailers are changing their post-Christmas strategies. Unlike past years day-after sales, the mark downs aren't just on ornaments, wrapping paper, and the unsellable. This year's sales include highly sought after items. At Fresno's Best-Buy, the sales floor was noticeably crowded in some areas as shoppers redeemed gift cards. But lines to checkout and return merchandise moved quickly. "With the day after Christmas being a Saturday, we expected it to be pretty big, so we got staffed up to make sure all of our registers running, have a good customer service staff, make sure we have enough people on the floor to make sure we can handle everybody today," said manager Justin Cruz.

Though numbers aren't expected until January, experts are predicting flat to modest retail growth. Still, that's an improvement over last year's six percent drop.

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