No madhouse rushes on day after Christmas

Dec. 27, 2013 @ 04:37 PM

A slow morning for Henderson’s retailers gave early-bird shoppers their opportunity to get what they wanted without a hassle Thursday.

The easy atmosphere bucked the expectations many shoppers had, envisioning a madhouse of business crush that has become a stereotype of the day after Christmas.

There were plenty of parking spaces and a troop of friendly employees ready to handle returns, help with exchanges and cash out gift card sales as well as other purchases.

Retailers were hopeful for traffic to pick up to a steady momentum through the day and into a busier weekend.

“Everything went well,” Irma Boyd said of her shopping visit to Roses on North Garnett Street. “I was in and out quickly.”

“We were surprised,” Ronda Brantley said of herself and Amy Williamson.

They were exchanging baby items for equivalents in larger sizes.

“The baby’s growing too fast,” Williamson said.

Angela Hyson from Manson said she was shopping for after-Christmas sales and enjoying the open opportunity for ready help from employee Morgan Richardson at J.C. Penney.

Traffic was light but picking up some by noontime, with clearances there running up to 60 percent off, and an after-Christmas bonus 10-percent off added through Saturday.

David McKeown, a store leader, said all cashier stations at J.C. Penney can handle returns and exchanges, so customers can find quality intervention at the source of their area of interest.

“This way, we can provide better customer service for them,” McKeown said.

According to McKeown, the Henderson location saw more shoppers over the Christmas season this year, and the after-Christmas shopping was just getting started.

“I figure we did pretty well,” he said. “We saw traffic pick up over last year. Today, things are progressively building, picking up now — once people get their coffee and get going.”

At the Shoe Dept. nearby, between J.C. Penney and Walmart, Margaret Vaughan, the store manager, said she saw more practical shopping this year. Some aspects of the customer quest for thrift worked in their favor, she added.

“It wasn’t as busy as it has been in some years past,” Vaughan said. “It wasn’t a blast season, but it was a calm, steady season — a good season, nice and calm.

“People kept to essentials, which we provide,” she added. “We pride ourselves in being a family shoe store. Overall, we didn’t do as well as we would like to have done.”

At Burkes Outlet, Crystal Gill, running the register, said the biggest crush day was on Christmas Eve.

“It was really busy,” Gill said. “It was steady through the season, with some days busy and other days were off some.”

At Walmart, managers designated four of the regular checkout lanes specifically for returns. On Thursday, only two were needed early in the day, with lines down to none or just one waiting.

The scene was a sharp contrast to the Christmas Eve checkout situation at Walmart when most to nearly all lanes open and loaded up with five or more customers waiting.

Managers on the floor of Walmart Thursday said that they could not comment for the record on their season or their after-Christmas promotions.

Managers at Big Lots and Roses, where Thursday shopping traffic appeared to be as light as at other locations, noted similar policies of not commenting for the record, referring inquiries to corporate offices.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.