Though traditionally considered one of the busiest days for gift returns, many day-after-Christmas shoppers in Altoona said they weren't just looking to exchange unwanted presents.
A shortened Thanksgiving-to-Christmas shopping season, combined with bad weather, kept more holiday shoppers at home between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, according to retail data firm ShopperTrak, which reported that sales at brick-and-mortar stores fell 2.9 percent between Dec. 2 and 8 compared to 2012.
ShopperTrak also reported that online shopping continued to boom - especially on days like Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, and Green Monday, the second Monday in December.
In an effort to make up for the sales slump, many national chains were offering steep discounts as early as Christmas afternoon. And some local shoppers said they took notice.
"There are more bargains today," said Susan Ritchey of Claysburg, as she took a break on a bench at the crowded Logan Valley Mall Thursday afternoon.
Ritchey said she was out looking to exchange a gift bought for her brother-in-law that was the wrong size.
"We thought it was bigger than it was," she said, laughing.
But discounts offered by stores like Hallmark, whose ornaments, she said, were almost half the price they were just a week ago, were too good to pass up.
"[My son] asked me to get them," she said. "He works, and I do the shopping. He hates to shop."
The Better Business Bureau expects that nearly one-third of gift recipients will trade in at least one of their presents from Santa.
Customer service lines were sometimes several shoppers deep at stores like Target and Kohl's, but redeeming gift cards and using other in-store perks also was a big draw for many.
Leaving EB Games in the mall, Ronald Marshall of Mahaffey said he was out shopping for games he and his girlfriend can play.
"She just got a [PlayStation 3]," he said, so be bought NCAA Football 09 and 10 - one for her console, and one for his.
"I'm spending gift cards, spending money I got," he said.
Kranich's Jewelers President Michael Kranich Jr. said the store sees some returns, but there are plenty of new purchases, too.
Some people come to trade in, or trade up for more expensive gifts, but couples looking to get engaged make up a significant portion of customers between Dec. 26 and 31.
"For us, it's always a positive day," he said, and sales continue to be strong for four and five days after Christmas.
Mirror Staff Writer Kelly Cernetich is at 946-7520.