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HOLIDAY MONEY
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Shoppers flock to stores post-holiday
Store chains offer steep discounts in the annual post-holiday rush, seek to rescue lukewarm season.
December 26, 2005: 1:50 PM EST

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Even before their gifts are put away, shoppers flocked back to stores Monday as retailers stepped up their discounts in a bid to salvage so-so holiday sales.

The day after Christmas is one of the top 10 shopping days of the year, and a number of stores including Federated Department Stores (Research), Best Buy (Research) and Home Depot (Research) were offering discounts of 65 percent off to lure in customers.

Macy's offered 50 percent reductions on cashmere sweaters, while the Gap (Research) had women's corduroy pants for as little as $19.99 and Target (Research) sold a 15-inch LCD TV with DVD Player for $499.99.

Retailers were hoping that the post-holiday discounts will help make up for solid but unspectacular sales so far this holiday season.

The Saturday before Christmas is typically the busiest shopping day of the year, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), but this year retailers faced slower-than-expected traffic in stores. (Full story).

"I don't think the day is the kind of day that retailers thought it would be," Britt Beemer, head of America's Research Group, which surveys consumer spending habits, told Reuters about Saturday shopping. "Christmas Eve is seldom the big day because of the fact that so many consumers ... want to be home."

Many retailers had opened their stores before 7 a.m. to take advantage of Christmas Eve falling on a weekend but the stores were not filled with as many traditional holiday shoppers, Reuters reported, quoting analysts, mall operators and retailers.

Holiday sales typically account for about one-fourth of annual retail sales and a big chunk of profits.

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