Call it the “day after” at shopping hubs throughout the city.
Streets and parking lots were congested with shoppers frantically
looking for a place to park Friday. At Media City Center, mall
walkways and checkout lines gradually swelled with consumers looking
for a good deal and those attempting to return what they might have
thought were good deals.
Retailers looked for a chance to finish up the year with a boost
to their profits while clearing year-end inventories.
“It’s humming today,” Media City Center General Manager Brian
Gartland said. “Typically, this is a big day for clearance sales and
a lot of returns.”
By about noon, mall officials were expecting the early rush to
subside by early afternoon and then pick up again around 5 p.m. with
shoppers looking for deals at stores that were offering up to 60% off
on some items. Some were looking to return items purchased before
Christmas, while others braved the crowds to redeem a trendy item
this year -- gift cards.
“We’re looking for good deals and to see if we can find any
bargains,” said Claudia Alba, whose family came from El Centro to
visit her mother.
Because of rain, the family was not able to purchase last-minute
gifts before Christmas, so the family came the day after to buy
For retailers, the days immediately following Christmas are
pivotal to finish off the sales year strongly, especially after what
officials say has been a lackluster year nationwide for holiday
“The shopping days after Christmas are extremely significant,”
Gartland said. “Any merchandise of the holiday type retailers are
generally trying to get rid of.”
“It’s pretty important because January is generally a slow month,”
said Debbie Hallack, assistant manager at Pacific Sunwear at the
Retailers in the Los Angeles area, though, have seen better sales
numbers this year compared to the rest of the nation, said Jack
Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic
Development Corp. But they are still seeing glitches. One trend this
year has been for people to buy more gift cards and certificates.
“Consumers are really going for them,” Kyser said. “The problem is
the stores don’t credit the card until the receiver of the card comes
through the door.”
Said Gartland: “I have a feeling that, in the next week or so, we
will see a lot of gift cards being redeemed.”