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Snow no obstacle for post-Christmas bargain hunters

New Hampshire Union Leader

December 26. 2013 9:14PM
Virginia Schramm of Manchester speaks about her Thursday morning shopping experience. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

BEDFORD — Deanna Andree combined bonus bucks from Kohl's with the money she received from returning her husband's extra jeans, so she could buy a pair of boots and some long underwear for herself on the morning after Christmas.

The Bedford mother was proud that she only owed $2.98 at the cash register.

"I'd say it was very successful," Andree said in a snowy Kohl's parking lot.

Andree joined thousands of Granite Staters heading to their favorite stores to return gifts and/or to spend gift cards.

"It's been very busy, especially given the weather," said Michael Herrmann, owner of Gibson's Bookstore in Concord. "We've been pleasantly surprised with how many people are out shopping."

He said the brisker business might be due in part to moving to a larger store on South Main Street since last Dec. 26. On Thursday, he saw a steady stream of people using gift cards.

"A lot of people are shopping for themselves, not feeling the pressure of getting it right for someone else," he said. "Just having fun."

In Bedford, Jamie Colantuoni donned shorts and a Patriots Santa hat for his post-Christmas shopping jaunt.

"My wife is exchanging right now and using a gift card," the Bedford resident said outside Kohl's.

"I expected it to be way busier," Colantuoni said at mid-morning.

Around 11 a.m., Kohl's for a few moments had no customers at a bank of four registers, and the nearby Bob's Stores had no wait for returns.

Colantuoni said his family had snagged "incredible deals" since Black Friday, when he got an iPad that came with a $100 gift card. He said he, his wife, Jennifer, and 12-year-old son, Jack, were next off to Toys'R'Us to buy more Legos with a gift card.

At the same shopping plaza, Shannon Riley picked up gifts at Fresh Market for two business clients she didn't see before Christmas.

"I get to spend half as much money on their presents," said Riley, who works nearby.

She also found time to pick up ski pants at Marshalls and was surprised there weren't more people out.

"This is nothing. Are you kidding me," Riley said. "Tuesday was crazy."At the Fox Run Mall in Newington, mall executive Aaron Yust said Thursday's crowds were comparable to last year's.

"The weather hasn't kept them away, that's for sure," said Yust, the mall's director of marketing and business development.

Yust said Dec. 26 ranks in the year's top-five busiest shopping days at the malls.

Based on what he has heard anecdotally from store managers, Yust said, "Overall, it's been a good season."

Stores offered price breaks for post-Christmas shoppers.

"I know a lot of retailers do a lot of post-Christmas discounts; it's not uncommon," Yust said. "A lot of times it depends on (stores') inventory levels. There's certainly a lot of good deals out there."

Speaking of deals, Andree eyed a decorative wreath at Target in Bedford before Christmas but waited until Dec. 26 to buy it for 50 percent off. She resisted snagging Christmas lights.

"I'm going to wait and see if I can get it for 75 percent off," Andree said.

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