Stores, malls swamped with Day-After-Christmas shoppers

WAUWATOSA -- Sunday was Christmas Day, and it was all about the excitement and anticipation of opening up those Christmas gifts, and Monday gave way to the realization that some of those gifts may not have been exactly what you wanted. Monday, malls and stores were busy as shoppers rushed to return or exchange unwanted gifts, spend those gift cards and take advantage of seasonal clearance sales!

Experts say Monday will likely be the third busiest shopping day of the holiday season. Last year, chain stores rang up about $62 billion in sales during the final week of the year, about 12 percent of the total for the holiday season, despite some major snowstorms. Experts say they expect to blow through that this year, anticipating about $72 billion in sales. One expert says retailers could sell as much as $29 billion worth of merchandise on Monday alone, eclipsing the $27 billion in sales on Black Friday.

The longest lines at many stores seemed to be at the return counter, as unwanted or poorly planned gifts were cashed in. With Christmas falling on a Sunday for the first time in six years, more people than usual had the Monday after Christmas off.

Many people rushed to stores Monday to spend gift cards. Their popularity seems to be on the rise as a gift. One little girl said she took in more than $100 in Target gift cards alone! She says gift cards is the gift she actually prefers! It's a great way to make sure people are able to pick out exactly what they want or need, and takes the guessing out of holiday shopping.

For others, the day after Christmas shopping is more of a tradition, built around close families and good prices. And of course, many were looking to take advantage of deep discounts on seasonal Christmas merchandise!

Stores anticipate being swamped with people looking to swap out gifts, and many stores have extended hours Monday night. Four in 10 Americans say they plan on hitting stores over the next few days after Christmas, while 46 percent have no plans to shop, according to a Consumer Reports poll.