Shoppers out in full force, looking for after-Christmas sales

By STACY MILLBERG

Staff Writer

smillberg@starbeacon.com



ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP - - Traditionally, the day after Christmas is considered the busiest day for returning or exchanging unwanted Christmas gifts, but several retailers at the Ashtabula Mall reported very few returns this year.

Instead, post-holiday shoppers were out in full force, searching for the best bargains at stores offering after-Christmas sales.

Sue Luce, of Ashtabula, was pleased with the number of sales she was finding.

"I'm spending money I didn't plan on," she said. "The card shop (sales) have been really good."

Luce came to the mall after battling the crowd at Wal-Mart. She said at 9:30 a.m. the store was very busy but then seemed to die down.

Cheryl Jenzen, manager of The Common Thread, said there were shoppers waiting at the door when she opened the gate to the store at 9 a.m. With every item in the seasonal store discounted by 50 percent, people were filing in and out of the shop, purchasing what was left of the nearly depleted inventory.

With very little left in the store, Jenzen said today or Thursday probably would be the final days the store will remain open until next year.

Sheila Ashley, manager of Coach House Gifts, said there were several people waiting outside her store to get their hands on Hallmark Christmas ornaments, which were discounted by 50 percent. Most other Christmas items in the store were marked down by at least 50 percent, and the store even sold out of a few popular items.

Jenzen and Ashley both report a significant increase in sales compared to last year. Coach House's sales are up 14 percent, and there has been an increase in the number of transactions the store processed, Ashley said.

"It's just been great," she said. "It really has."

Jenzen said The Common Thread did way above what was anticipated this year. She said she received a fax from the store's owners Tuesday morning, complimenting her staff on their great success this year.

"(The owners) think the reason for our success is because we treat the store like it's our own," she said. "This is the best we've done before Christmas, with no sales (on merchandise)."

Jennifer Webster, manager of Yum Yum Tree, reported a decrease in the store's sales compared to last year. It was not a significant decline, however, she said. Webster said there were no lines waiting to get into the store but she has high hopes the store's sales will increase through the weekend.

"As the week goes on, we should pick up as far as sales go," she said. "People that are out are actually shopping."

The store has a lot of it's inventory marked down by up to 75 percent. Webster said sales were close to last year's level but not what she had anticipated.

Star Beacon Print Edition: 12/27/2006

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