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Local shoppers find bargains at after-Christmas sales

December 27, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

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.

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"Returns have been fairly mild," Blecha said, adding the store had prepared for more people wanting to return items.

"We had several registers open for that," he said.

Is it possible Imperial Valley residents have gotten so good at picking out the perfect Christmas presents for everyone on their lists?

Not likely.

A more plausible answer, Blecha said, is Wednesday's workday kept many would-be returners at the office.

"Maybe they'll come in after work," Blecha said.

Plascencia, however, said her store was receiving "a lot of exchanges" typical of the day after Christmas.

Despite many reports of a slow retail season across the country, Blecha said his store doesn't appear to have been affected.

"The crowds have been about the same (as last year)," Blecha said.

>> Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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