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Hordes of post-Christmas shoppers expected

Retail experts predict that the day after Christmas — a holiday this year for many American workers — will be the country's third-busiest shopping day of the year.

December 25, 2011|By Shan Li, Los Angeles Times
  • Many stores will offer deals and promotions but not fire-sale discounts the day after Christmas, retail experts say. Above, shoppers visit the Grove in Los Angeles on Thursday.
Many stores will offer deals and promotions but not fire-sale discounts… (Robert Gauthier, Los Angeles…)

The presents are unwrapped and feasts devoured, but retailers are getting yet another big chance to entice shoppers.

Retail experts predict that the day after Christmas — a holiday this year for many American workers — will be the country's third-busiest shopping day of the year.

Because Dec. 26 falls on a Monday, store traffic could be up as much as 60% over the same date last year, which was a Sunday, according to ShopperTrak, a research firm that monitors traffic at more than 25,000 stores.

"There is potential for a very significant lift" in shopping Monday, ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin said. "Last year the 26th was on Sunday, and Sunday has restricted selling laws. In some states there are blue laws and many stores just aren't open."

Shoppers should expect to see big after-Christmas sales, early hours and some Black Friday-type door-buster deals designed to draw people into stores, retail experts said.

"All retailers will be promoting, and there will also be new merchandise in stores," said Jackie Fernandez, a partner in the retail practice at Deloitte & Touche. "Shoppers will come in to spend gift cards, and retailers are hoping the consumer will buy something not at promotion."

But don't expect to see the fire-sale prices common during the recession, industry watchers warn.

With the help of carefully planned discounts throughout the season, many retailers have been steadily clearing through their holiday merchandise in the weeks after Thanksgiving, said Ron Friedman, a retail expert at advisory and accounting firm Marcum in Los Angeles.

"They won't have to do severe price cutting, although sales will still be promotion driven," Friedman said. "Discounts will continue going until the end of the year."

David Jackson of Los Angeles plans to hit the mall bright and early Monday, hoping to score some deals on shirts and pants.

"What else are you going to do after Christmas?" the 31-year-old office manager said. "Might as well do a bit of shopping."

shan.li@latimes.com

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