That Santa feeling hasn't quite left shoppers yet
NEW YORK - Forget the returns line: Americans hit the stores after Christmas to buy stuff, indulging the rediscovered retail appetite that may have made 2010's holiday shopping season the biggest ever.
Revenue for the holiday season is on track to grow at its strongest rate since 2006. Total spending for November and December could exceed 2007 sales - the best season on record despite an uncertain economy and a rise in thrifty habits.
Even an East Coast blizzard didn't kill the mood after Christmas as shoppers headed to stores armed with gift cards and eyeing a new crop of discounts. The blizzard cut some stores' hours Sunday and Monday, but some analysts think shoppers will be undeterred given the new resiliency they have shown this season.
"The storm is more of a nuisance. So some consumers will put off their shopping for day or two, but by and large, stores will be able roll past this storm without too much concern," said Madison Riley, a strategist at Kurt Salmon Associates, a consulting firm.
Taubman Centers had to close four of its 26 malls early on Sunday, but spokeswoman Karen MacDonald said those that were open were much busier with new sales than with gift receipts. Based on a sampling of stores at a number of malls, 80 percent of the transactions were purchases, while returns and exchanges each accounted for 10 percent, she said.
"There are many people who are off this week; if they don't get out today, we expect a strong and long weekend," MacDonald said. "We feel very good."