Donna McNally, her daughter Jennifer Robinson and granddaughter Shea Robinson decided that the best way to decompress from all the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping last week was to do ... more shopping.
So, they drove to Lexington from Berea on Sunday afternoon and soon ran into some day-after-Christmas bargains at Aeropostale in Hamburg, where they cashed in some coupons.
"We're the coupon queens," McNally said as they hurried through a snow shower on their way to the next store. "We've only been here about 10 minutes, and we've already got a whole bag of clothes for $29. That's about a third of what you'd pay for a pair of jeans."
Across Lexington, many others were out on similar missions Sunday, exchanging Christmas presents that didn't quite fit, using up the gift cards they found under the Christmas tree Saturday morning, or just taking advantage of the many after-Christmas sales that stores offered.
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Carl McCray and his wife, Carol, said they drove from Berea specifically to take advantage of the 70-percent-off sale at Wildcat Warehouse.
"The kids have gone home, and we have Sunday afternoon free, so we thought we'd come and look," said Carl McCray, who was trying on University of Kentucky sweatshirts.
Another inducement was the gift card from their son, Carol McCray said.
Here and across the country, the day after Christmas is rapidly becoming one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Indeed, Dec. 26 was the second-highest revenue day of 2009 for retailers, according to ShopperTrak, with shoppers shelling out $7.9 billion. Merchants were hoping for even bigger results this year, based on recent trends suggesting that consumers are finally opening their pocketbooks again as the national economy gradually improves.
Besides, shopping on the day after Christmas offers other attractions.
"It's stress-free shopping," Jennifer Robinson said Sunday. "As long as we're not buying more presents and gifts, it's all good."
Gift cards are another major feature of the post-Christmas shopping scene. That includes the new high-tech mobile gift cards that shoppers can use directly from their cell phones, although only a relatively small number of shoppers and retailers have taken advantage of them, so far.
Jason Anderson and his girlfriend, Caitlin Frodge, drove to Lexington from Mount Sterling on Sunday looking for some bargains. Anderson said he used a gift card from his father to load up on sale items at American Eagle Outfitters in Hamburg.
"The gift cards work really well," he said. "I like them."