With an extra day off for the Christmas holiday, shoppers in the central San Joaquin Valley were slow to get out of bed Monday. But by mid-morning, the lure of day-after Christmas sales had them filling stores.
Rosie Borsch, 32, of Clovis, was among those scooping up bargains. She was stocking up on markdowns on wrapping paper, gift bags -- and M&M Mints -- at the Target on Shaw Avenue in Clovis.
"I come for the good deals, obviously," she said. "And you can only get M&M Mints at Christmas."
Business owners were banking on sales and gift-card redemptions to make the day one of the busiest of the holiday season.
The day could rank third in foot-traffic, surpassed only by Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and Dec. 17, according to ShopperTrak, a provider of retail and mall foot traffic counting services. Up to 60% more shoppers were expected to visit stores on Dec. 26 than on the same day last year, ShopperTrak said.
Fueling the shopping: The day after Christmas fell on a Monday for the first time in six years, and many people had the day off from work.
But it was a groggy start at many stores. About 50 customers waited outside the Target on Shaw Avenue in Clovis for its opening at 7 a.m., said assistant store manager Jordan Hunter. That was a smaller number than last year. "It's slower than normal," Hunter said.
Fashion Fair Mall, too, was off to a quiet morning, but marketing manager Kelly Tallant wasn't worried. "I think people enjoyed their holiday and kind of slept in," she said.
People with Christmas cash and gift cards will take advantage of the Dec. 26 sales, Tallant said. "They want to make those dollars go farther so they're shopping for sales."
Post-Christmas sales were expected to surge, according to the America's Research Group/UBS Post-Christmas Forecast survey. But it will require big discounts. The poll found 35.5% of Americans said they expected to shop after-Christmas sales -- but 60% of those shoppers said it would take discounts of 60% or more for 56.9% of them to shop.
"Consumers are certainly migrating to the bargain table," said Britt Beemer, chairman and founder of America's Research Group based in Charleston, S.C.
Tallant of Fashion Fair said business owners stocked for the holiday consumer. "They made sure merchandise was in there all season."
Shoppers weren't complaining about what was left to buy Monday.
Fresno friends Cindy Beltran and Rosie Jimenez started their morning at two Target stores, picking up Christmas items at half-off. By 10 a.m., they were browsing sales at Fashion Fair. "You get 40%, 50% off -- up to 70%," Beltran said, standing outside Cathy Jean. "Those boots are 70% off," she said, eyeing a pair on display in the store.
A "buy one, get one at half-price" sale brought shoppers into Bakers, another shoe store at the mall.
Savannah Dedmon's grandmother agreed to buy the 14-year-old a pair of boots. And Savannah and mother Jackie Dedmon took advantage of the sale to each get a pair. "It's a good deal," Jackie Dedmon said.
Christmas cash and gift cards were incentives for a lot of shoppers.
At the Target on Shaw Avenue in Clovis, Rachel Bean and daughters, Allison, 10, and Sara, 8, were looking to spend Christmas cash.
The girls got American Girl dolls for Christmas and wanted to buy accessories, Rachel Bean said. She was checking out sales. "I'm looking for after-Christmas sales on gift wrap," she said.
According to a Consumer Reports poll, 47% of shoppers said the reason they would be in stores after Christmas was to redeem gift cards -- and Brock Logan, 13, of Fresno was one of them. He rolled out of bed and threw clothes over his Steelers pajama bottoms to shop.
Brock's mother, Jennifer Logan, said after-Christmas shopping is a tradition. "We've got even the boys doing it every year," she said.
Brock said he wasn't looking for anything in particular. But he likely would find something to buy. "Everything is half-off pretty much," he said.