Shopping hordes boost bottom line

Every year, Cindy Ehnes makes it a point to buy clothing her daughters will not like for Christmas.

That way, Ehnes said, she can spend the following day with the two of them in San Francisco exchanging the unwanted items for something more to their liking.

“It’s a lot of work,” Ehnes, a Sacramento resident, said of her strategy. “It’s all a matter of taste.”

Lacey Castellano, Ehnes’ daughter, said that taste included ruffles.

“A lot of ruffles,” Castellano said. “This way we get what we like. It’s a sort of heavy gift card.”

On Sunday afternoon, the women were among thousands of shoppers who wandered the streets of San Francisco in search of those great deals, not to mention clogging streets and sidewalks in some of The City’s most popular shopping districts.

Ehnes and her daughters had already gone to Nordstrom in the downtown Westfield Shopping Center before heading to Union Square to places such as Banana Republic and Anthropology.

Shoppers are expected to make the day after Christmas a boon for retailers.

Last year, the day after Christmas was the second-highest revenue day for retailers with $7.9 billion spent, according to ShopperTrak.

Greg Maloney, the CEO of the retail practice of Jones Lang LaSalle, which manages malls across the country, said he expects December revenue to grow a healthy 7 to 10 percent from last year.

Strong spending this week would build on the highest-spending holiday season since 2007, a record year. Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 makes up less than 10 percent of the season that runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, but the week after Christmas accounts for more than 15 percent of holiday spending, according to research firm ShopperTrak.

Pauline Morton, 47, of San Francisco said she does not normally come out to shop the day after Christmas, but acknowledged the crowds were good for the economy.

“It’s really nice to see,” she said. “It’s very encouraging.”

Morton said she was able to capitalize on great deals. Clothing boutique Karen Miller, for instance, allowed Morton to take an additional 20 percent off a purchase that was already marked down 50 percent.

Mike Bell, however, said he did not mind coming to the Union Square area to return jeans and shirts that did not fit. In fact, Bell said he enjoys the experience.

“If you have to do it, you have to do it,” the 50-year-old San Francisco resident said. “I’m hoping to get some good deals too.”

Opening wallets for the holidays

Despite the down economy, shoppers are spending more this season.

Black Friday
$10.69 billion

Increase from 2009
2.8 percent

Super Saturday, Dec. 17
$7.58 billion

Increase from 2009
5.5 percent

Source: ShopperTrak

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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