After-Christmas shopping going strong despite snowy weather

Dec 30 2010 - 1:03am

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(ANTHONY SOUFFLE/Standard-Examiner) Shoppers braved the snowy weather Wednesday in search of bargains at Newgate Mall in Ogden.
(ANTHONY SOUFFLE/Standard-Examiner) Shoppers braved the snowy weather Wednesday in search of bargains at Newgate Mall in Ogden.

LAYTON -- Christmas may be over, but that doesn't mean shoppers have quit buying gifts for the holidays. Thanks to a certain popular gift, crowds of people still have Christmas shopping to do, and stores all over the Top of Utah are benefiting.

"The stores seem to be attracting people who are spending gift cards that they received for Christmas," said Brent Parkin, senior general manager at Newgate Mall. "We're seeing a lot of gift cards being redeemed."

From nationwide chain stores to local retail shops, gift cards are getting people back into the shopping mode. Retailers say that most of the time, people redeeming their gift cards buy items that cost more than the balance of the gift card. Because of that, stores sell more than they would have without the gift card being bought in the first place. Gift cards also produce more sales just by getting people to enter the stores when they would not have done so without the gift card.

"We get a lot of people in after holidays, because grandmas and moms come here and say go nuts after Christmas," said Rachael Williams, manager of HeeBeeGeeBeez.

The comics and games store has locations in Layton and Ogden and Williams said her type of store is one that usually does better after Christmas than before, because parents have a difficult time picking the gift that their children want. She said providing a gift registry helps shoppers pick out the right gifts for those they are shopping for, but gift cards have been a great way to make sure people get what they want.

There is more than just gift cards pushing people back into the malls and other retail stores. Mother Nature also has had an effect on encouraging people to spend money and head back into the stores after they may have thought they were done shopping for a while.

"The snow on Sunday brought people in for winter clothing and ski and snowboard equipment," Parkin said. "All the snow this year has really made the ski season incredible, and it has been good early in the year to have so much snow."

While he said he will not know the exact numbers until next month, Parkin estimates that sales in Newgate Mall are up 5 percent for the week after Christmas as compared to last year.

Barry Smith, manager of Layton Hills Mall, said he was unable to give similar information and referred the Standard-Examiner to specific stores in the mall. However, those store managers said they were unable to comment because of corporate guidelines.

The day after Christmas was an especially big day for HeeBeeGeeBeez, which has noticed a trend of late.

"It's getting bigger and bigger," Williams said. "We've experienced growth the day after Christmas for the past few years."

Parkin said he expects business to continue to be strong this week, especially with after-Christmas sales going on and the upcoming New Year's Day sales.

"We anticipate that will bring in record crowds," Parkin said.

Parkin also noted that along with the sales, the mall itself has made an effort to keep people visiting the stores after Christmas.

New to Newgate Mall this year is the miniature train that takes families around the interior of the mall. Even Santa Claus rode the train every day during his time at the mall, which was a highlight for the children who were passengers with him.

"It has been an attraction that many families have enjoyed," Parkin said. "Children have enjoyed watching and riding the train, and it has brought a fun family atmosphere to the mall."

Parkin said the train will continue to operate past the New Year's holiday, and he expects the train will continue to be an attraction for shoppers.

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