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2010 Holiday shopping season inching closer to record year in 2007? | News

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2010 Holiday shopping season inching closer to record year in 2007?
2010 Holiday shopping season inching closer to record year in 2007?

Tampa, Florida --  The holiday shopping frenzy isn't over...

Retailer are advertising extended hours and sales this week in an effort to get you through their doors before the years end.

The door buster deals started in the wee hours of the morning Sunday with stores like JC Penney offering 70% off of fleece sweaters for men, $9.99 sweaters for women and 75% off holiday decor. 

Read:  After Christmas Sales:  What are stores doling out deals?

Toys R US is also advertising an After Christmas Blowout sale with discounts of up to 60% and Buy 1, Get 1 50% deals on many video games.

This final week of the holiday shopping season makes up for 15% of the sales of the entire season and retailers want to end this year with a bang.

And, they just might.

The 2010 holiday shopping season got off to such a strong start, the National Retail Federation revised its spending forecast from a 2.3% spending increase from last year to a 3.3% increase.

That represents an estimated $451.5 billion in spending.

"The start to the holiday season has surpassed all expectations," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

If this number holds true when the final spending numbers are released next month, we could see one of the best holiday shopping seasons on record. 


The NRF says the strongest holiday sales on record came in 2007 when shoppers spent $452.8 billion.

Even though unemployment figures sit at close to all time highs at 12% in Florida and 9.8% nationwide, economists say consumer confidence is building.

This year, retailers say they've noticed people spending more on non-essential items and even spending money on themselves, which is a trend they haven't seen in recent years.

This final week of the season is expected to round out strong retail sales as people rush out to redeem gift cards, stock up on discounted holiday decor and gifts for next year and of course...the gift returns.

Read:  Etiquette quandary:  Can I return this?

Here are a few tips to keep in mind before heading to the store from the National Retail Federation:

NRF's tips for stress-free returns after the holidays

1.     Know the retailer's return policy before you buy. Most retailers have return policies prominently displayed, especially at this time of year. Gift-givers should read and remember them. If policies are not clearly displayed, ask a sales associate or a manager to explain them to you. Most retailers also outline their return policy on their website.

2.  Save and file all receipts! Receipts are still the key to hassle-free returns. Some retailers will allow consumers to exchange merchandise without a receipt, but oftentimes will only provide merchandise credit for the lowest markdown-price at which the item was sold during the holiday season. Make sure to provide the recipient with a gift receipt to save hassle after the holidays. 

3.  Provide all original packaging and all parts (including tags) when giving a gift. Some retailers won't accept returns unless the item is in its original package. If you plan to take back a gift after it is unwrapped, resist the urge to open it or play with it. No one wants to buy someone else's merchandise. 

4.  Make online returns easy. Returns are a part of shopping, no matter where you buy. In addition to the other rules of returns, here are a few things to find out before you purchase a gift online:

-  Know the process: Who pays for return shipping --you or the merchant? Some merchants will pick up the delivery charges for exchanges, but not for returns; others offer free return shipping on every return.

-  Where to make returns: Does the retailer have a physical store, and can returns or exchanges be made there? Make sure you have the correct address if you need to mail returns back to the company. Some merchants have offsite service centers to handle returns that may be in a different location from where the merchandise is sent.

5.  Be patient. Remember, the week after Christmas is one of the busiest weeks of the year for retailers. With people's frustration high and tolerance low, be patient when returning merchandise.

(National Retail Federation)

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