Crowds only steady despite discounts

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 26, 1999

Crowds at Natchez department and discounts stores’ day after Christmas sales were moderate despite discounts of up to 50 percent throughout the stores.

And returns and exchanges were down from last year, probably because it was a Sunday, store managers said.

&uot;I’d say we have had a steady flow of customers, mostly looking for Christmas decorations, which were 50 percent off,&uot;&160;said Doris Chatman, softlines manager for Kmart.

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Sales at Wal-Mart were up more than 5 percent from the day after Christmas last year.

For one thing, many children got video game sets for Christmas this year – and today, are buying games to go with them, said Manager C.W. Wilson. Others are looking for markdowns on clothing and Christmas decorations. This year, McRae’s introduced electronic gift cards that can be used to buy a certain dollar amount of merchandise, and many who got those cards for Christmas came in to shop with them Sunday, said Manager Mary Flach.

&uot;Traffic is up about 17 percent from this time last year, especially in the men’s department,&uot;&160;Flach said.

At the same time, there were few long lines for returns and exchanges at the stores.

That is despite the fact that the day after Christmas is usually the busiest time to return or exchange gifts. &uot;I don’t know how much our returns are down yet, but the long lines you would usually see for returns aren’t there this year, probably because it’s a Sunday,&uot;&160;Wilson said.

One McRae’s shopper said she was not returning anything at Natchez Mall Sunday.

&uot;I’m just here to look for bargains on clothes and Christmas decorations,&uot;&160;she said, packages hanging from her arms. &uot;And I’ll probably go to a few other stores, too – though the bargains might be gone by now.&uot;