Lackluster Spending Season Boosts Post-Holiday Discounts

Stores offering 40-50 percent off after Christmas

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Malls saw increased foot traffic Wednesday as shoppers went back to stores to return gifts or grab post-Christmas bargains. Michelle Relerford reports.

    Didn't get what you wanted for Christmas? New gift card already burning a hole in your pocket?

    Retailers are counting on it.

    Stores that slashed prices right before the holiday were expected to continue cutting as they struggled to make up for a lackluster spending season. Analysts were expecting a 3 to 4 percent increase over last year, but a report from MasterCard Spending Pulse showed only a 0.7 percent uptick.

    Considering holiday sales make up 40 percent of annual numbers for some stores, it's not good news, and they were rushing to recoup.

    Shoppers took notice. A line formed outside the Michigan Avenue H&M store around 7 a.m. in anticipation of great buys. And the sales didn't stop there. Target offered 50 percent off clearance, and Banana Republic advertised 40 percent off.

    What kept people from the stores until now?

    Retailers speculate Superstorm Sandy's effect and last week's snowstorm across the Midwest kept shoppers away. The looming "fiscal cliff" also may have made people uneasy.

    Stores are now counting on customers to boost their numbers. After all, why just exchange the sweater your aunt gave you when you can buy a few more sweaters too.