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Shoppers search for bargains while giving retailers year-end sales boost

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Shoppers look through discounted Christmas decor at On the Boulevard in the Greenville Mall on Dec. 26, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, December 27, 2018

After gobbling down Christmas dinner and sleeping off the eggnog, shoppers in Greenville spent Wednesday afternoon shopping after-holiday sales, returning or exchanging merchandise or just browsing local stores with friends and family members.

At the Greenville Mall, parking lots were full. As a steady stream of people traveled from store to store, lines were long as people waited to return or exchange items. The heavy traffic is expected to continue through the end of the week.

The Shimmer Boutique, a local clothing and accessories store, saw steady returns and exchanges on Wednesday. 

“We have had a lot of returns and exchanges and we’ve been busy because the whole store is 25 percent off,” Manager Sydney Fulford said. 

Fulford said the business is trying to clear out old inventory and make room for new items. 

One recurring theme with returns was people bringing in clothing items that were the wrong size.  

“Mainly it’s just a case of people having the wrong sizes and we’re pretty low on freight right now, so people are returning stuff if we don’t have their size to exchange it,” Fulford said. 

Despite the influx of returns, sales were up, Fulford said. 

“We’ve been very busy today with a lot of traffic coming through,” she said. “We were very busy this morning. Normally, the whole week after Christmas is when we do a lot of business.”

At the Shimmer Boutique’s sister store, On the Boulevard, returns were not as much of an issue. 

Manager Ciara Fleming said that On the Boulevard is a specialty home decor store that offers unique items that separate them from many of the other shops in the mall. 

“People still have Christmas on their mind,” Fleming said as she pointed to a farm table that had just been sold. 

“That’s more of what we’ve seen today instead of returns,” she said. “It’s kind of nice being on the home decor side of retail. I feel like you don’t get as many returns as you do if you work in apparel and things like that. We’ve had a very easy, nice-going day and everyone seems to be just enjoying their family and kind of spending their money.”

As the holiday season comes to an end, weaker retail sales are expected in January, something Fleming said is on a lot of people’s minds. 

“I’m sure next week, we’ll really feel the effects of the holidays being over,” she said. “After New Year’s Day, it’s going to be pretty slow in the mall for sure. We’re still seeing a lot of traffic though.”

At Dunham’s Sports, Manager Brandon Lemons said that customer traffic was sporadic and much slower than the weekend before Christmas. 

“Today it hasn’t been too busy and there have been lots of returns of clothing,” Lemons said. 

Nathan Kelly, the mall’s senior general manager, said the days after Christmas are a busy time at the shopping center. This year, the mall has been busier with sales seeing a boost compared to last year. 

“So far, through Christmas, business has been very good,” Kelly said.  “We’ve had a lot of traffic, sales were good and we’ve had a substantial increase so it’s been a very good Christmas season.”

Across the street in Arlington Village, My Sister’s Attic, a consignment shop that has a vast array of antiques and home furnishings, stayed busy most of the day, with one family coming from Windsor. 

“We’ve had a very good steady stream of people coming in,” Assistant Store Manager Melissa Lebo said.  “Our Christmas stuff is 75 percent off and we have sold quite a bit of it and that is great.  

“We did have people waiting outside when I opened the door this morning because they had seen something and wanted to see if it was still here,” Lebo said.  

“Usually you think of people going back to the mall and returning stuff,” she said. “But we have a fabulous location because when you’re riding down the street, we have people walk in every day but never knew we were here.” 

According to the National Retail Federation, consumers nationwide say they will spend an average of $1,007.24 during the holiday season this year, up 4.1 percent from the $967.13 they said they would spend last year, according to the annual survey released on Wednesday.

Contact Tyler Stocks at tstocks@reflector.com or 252-329-9566.  Follow him on Twitter @TylerstocksGDR.  

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