Like so many other traditions observed this time of year, local residents faithfully participated in the time-honored practice of hitting after-Christmas sales Wednesday.
"It's been very busy," said El Centro Wal-Mart Manager Kedron Blecha.
While Christmas is 363 days away, people are stocking up early on holiday decorations and saving a bundle.
"People are looking for clearance Christmas decorations," Blecha said.
Customers also were taking advantage of marked-down prices on cosmetic gift sets, Christmas-themed houseware items and selected toys, he said.
Diana Plascencia, a department manager at JCPenney in El Centro, said a similar crowd was shopping at her store.
"A lot of Christmas stuff has been going," Plascencia said of the store's stock of ornaments and themed items.
Also popular Wednesday were seasonal purchases like jackets and sweaters, she said.
"It's pretty busy. Our parking lot has been full all day," Plascencia said.
Though shoppers came out in the expected numbers, there was one group of people whose numbers Blecha overestimated.