Hundreds of thousands of shoppers across the country lined up at stores on Tuesday, the day after Christmas, to return some unwanted Christmas gifts, whether it was a chip-and-dip plate from their mother-in-law to an itchy sweater from grandma.
"All the fundamentals were in place for consumers to take advantage of incredible deals and promotions retailers had to offer", said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO.
Just because Christmas is over doesn't mean the shopping is.
Sales of electronics and appliances increased 7.5 percent, the strongest growth of the last 10 years, and the home furniture and home improvement categories both grew 5.1 percent.
The report's researchers found that early-season discounts promoted by stores paid off, with the first three weeks of November seeing significant increases.
Victoria's Secret had 50 percent off on items. There was a clearance sale at Payless ShoeSource.
The next big event for the mall is its sidewalk sale.
Some gift recipients had no plans to return an item even if the present wasn't exactly what was on their wish list.
"It looked good and [was] a good deal", he said. Both the Bay Street outdoor mall in Emeryville and Stoneridge Shopping Center in Pleasanton advertised hours from 7 a.m.to 10 p.m. on their websites.
Kristin Blizzard, of Havre de Grace, shopped with her 9-year-old daughter, Lindsay, 7-year-old son, Nolan, and niece and nephew, Cassie and Kyle Jasper, ages 13 and 9, of Bel Air. Spending the money or gift cards they received for Christmas.
Ray Ristich, who manages the Zales jewelry store at Fox Valley Mall, said sales during "the lead-up to Christmas were great". "Everything is flawless." She said. "It's not as rushed and busy as it is before Christmas".
"I like your shoes", she told Lindsay.
Cassie Jasper, Bilzzard's niece, said she purchase a shirt and perfume.
"You would think that they would just get you stuff that you wanted; so no returns".