Retailers Lure Customers With Big After-Christmas Sales

Even though the Christmas shopping rush has passed, retailers are pulling out all the stops to get consumers in their stores.

Now that Christmas is over, shoppers are packing stores to redeem gift cards, return clothes that don't fit and simply take advantage of big sales.

"This year, the retailers are really feeling the pain, but the pain to the retailer is the ultimate benefit to the customer," said industry analyst Marshal Cohen.

According to Cohen, right now stores have a glut of inventory because they ordered merchandise before the economy soured and before consumers across the country started tightening their belts.

"What we are going to see in 2009 is compression, getting smaller," Cohen said. "Retailers are going to close some stores."

For instance, SanDisk, the leading maker of memory chips for digital cameras and phones, plans to shut down one of its factories for two weeks and then resume production at just 70 percent capacity -- all in response to the slower-than-normal demand.

"When retailers get the right amount of product, and the supply is limited, it creates some of the old-fashioned shopper's frenzy that we have been used to," Cohen said. "When they do that, the sales won't be as plentiful and in some cases the shelves will be empty."

For now, however, shoppers like Kristen Burdett are living it up. She got sunglasses for 65 percent off and a cashmere sweater for another 60 percent off, with a total savings to $340.