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Retailers ready for gift cards, exchanges
This week another busy stretch
Local retailers are preparing for the rush of after-Christmas business. - photo by Autumn Vetter

While most will rejoice in the presents Santa left under the tree, no doubt some will want to return a few.

Retailers are preparing for a busy week as after-Christmas returns start piling in, along with customers who want to use those gift cards they received.

"We’re obviously very busy with returns the day after Christmas," said Larry Wilkerson, manager of the Kohl’s on Market Place Boulevard. "People will get the wrong color or size and want to come and exchange it."

Wilkerson said the store will open at 5 a.m. Monday in preparation of the after-Christmas crowds.

"We’ll have our return center all set up in our customer service area with additional cash registers to handle the load," he said.

Similarly, Belk and Parsons, both in Lakeland Plaza, will open early Monday.

"We’ll open at 6 a.m.," said Kelly Feese, manager of Belk. "We do an insane amount of business that day."

Cris Willis, owner of Parsons, said her store will open at 8 a.m.

"It’s always crazy the first couple of hours especially," she said.

All the store managers are also anticipating many gift card users.

"We’ve sold a tremendous amount of gift cards during the holiday season, so we’re looking forward to seeing people come in to use those," Wilkerson said.

Freese said the same of Belk gift cards.

"We sell a lot of those right before Christmas," she said. "Then between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1 is when we see the bulk of our gift card use for the year."

Willis said many men come in during the days before Christmas to purchase cards for their wives as last-minute gifts.

"We’ll see those wives in next week," she said.

For those looking to return items, receipts are helpful though not always necessary.

The National Retail Federation recommends checking each individual store’s return policies before heading out. Most have their policies displayed inside, as well as on company Web sites.

Whether helping customers with returns or new purchases, retailers are in for a busy week.

"We’ll have as many [employees working] after Christmas as we’ve had all throughout the season," Wilkerson said. "It really won’t slow down until the end of January."