Shopping season doesn’t end with Christmas

 A person passes a retail store with sale sign displayed in the window in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, file)

A person passes a retail store with sale sign displayed in the window in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, file)

You might think that Christmas day marks the end of the holiday shopping season, but merchants are now used to a post-Christmas surge spurred by the gift-giving of the holiday.

New Jersey Retail Merchants Association president John Holub said many people will head back to the stores after the holiday to return presents they aren’t wild about and to redeem the gift cards they received.

“It’s a trend that we’ve been seeing for several years now,” Holub said in an interview. “Several surveys have shown that the number-one gift that people want is actually gift cards. It gives them the flexibility to go out and purchase what they really truly want, not the ugly sweater that they ultimately return.”

Holub expects electronics, clothing, jewelry and accessories that were popular items to give as gifts will be the same kind of things people want to buy for themselves now.

The post-Christmas returns and gift-cards “provides a lot of opportunities for retailers to get the consumers back in the stores,” Holub said.

Holub said the November-though-January holiday shopping season accounts for about 40 percent of annual retail sales, but he’s not sure just how much of that will occur in the weeks after-Christmas.

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