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After-Christmas sales lure returns, exchanges and new shopping

Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City attracted post-Christmas

Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City attracted post-Christmas shoppers and gift returners on Wednesday. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The biggest gift-giving day of the year has come and gone, but the Christmas holiday shopping hasn't ended.

Wednesday, the day after Christmas, meant returning or exchanging gifts that were less than perfect and, in some cases, shopping some more.

Ralph Campbell said he went to Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station Wednesday night to exchange an iPad cover he bought for his daughter.

“I bought the wrong size,”  said Campbell, 42, of Amityville, before taking a seat on a bench in the mall to take in the post-holiday atmosphere.

More than half of this year's holiday shoppers say they plan to return or exchange gifts, typically within the first month, according to the National Retail Federation.

LIke Campbell, many Long Islanders chose to do so the day after Christmas.

For Eve Giacinto of Bethpage, holiday returns are a key part of her gifting routine to make sure everybody in the family ends up satisfied.

Before the holiday, Giacinto bought two sizes of three gifts for her two children and planned to return those that didn't fit. Following up on her plan Wednesday morning, Giacinto said her strategy makes sure her children have the shoes they wanted without worrying about whether the right styles would still be available after Christmas.

“So everybody is happy,” she said Wednesday before entering Macy's at Walt Whitman Shops with her daughter, Marie, who wore a new pair of brown Converse winter boots she got for Christmas, along with a smile.

Carrying a box with a white kitchen mixer inside, Jess Bajada-Silva of Farmingdale went to Macy's Wednesday morning to return the gift her brother bought his wife.

Her sister-in-law, “an ardent baker,” received the same gift from Bajada-Silva’s brother and mother but in a different color, Bajada-Silva said.

“He got the wrong color,” she said, so her mother’s gift of the red mixer stays while the other one goes back to the store.

Bajada-Silva, a college student on break, was tasked to return the gift with her boyfriend, Ryan Bartlett, who she joked was “the muscles” of the trip.

Andrew Gottilla, a computer sales representative at Best Buy in Huntington Station, said traffic in the store was slow Wednesday morning, like most mornings, but the pace was picking up as the day progressed.

Some customers came to return items, while others looked to buy gifts, he said.

Four percent of nearly 7,000 shoppers surveyed by the National Retail Federation in December said their final gifts wouldn’t be purchased until after Christmas.

While returning or exchanging gifts, some customers end up buying other items they see on sale, shoppers said. Others plan to shop more after Christmas to take advantage of the holiday sales or use their gift cards as well as store credit, the retail federation reported.

Lisa Gershburg of Plainview planned to shop both online and in-store for clothing and home decor Wednesday. In the morning, she purchased a 50-inch television. Gershburg said she had some store credit from returns she made before Christmas and planned to use it Wednesday during after-Christmas sales.

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