Shoppers pack Lowcountry stores after Christmas

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - Christmas has come and gone, and many of the gifts that have been given are being returned and exchanged at the stores that they were purchased from.

WTOC was at the Shelter Cove Town Center, which is one of the two main shopping plazas here in the Hilton Head area. Even though stores are seeing a lot of returns, there also seeing a lot of purchases as well to help balance out the profit.

The National Retail Federation reports that more than 38 percent of shoppers made their purchases before last week while 12 percent waited until the last minute making their purchases just before Christmas Eve. But there was also a lot of people who said they wouldn't hit the stores until after Christmas, which is good news for our retailers on the island who were out of business for several days because of Hurricane Matthew.

Even though 52 percent of people said they would get their last minute deals online, here at Island Trading Company, the owner is seeing a lot of people opt for in-store shopping. Even though returns account for 10 percent of holiday sales, owners here are seeing more purchases.

"I've been very busy today, and of course, then the island is very full. People are here, they're back visiting and they're sill here all week. So it's been very good. We're very fortunate," said Dee Kropf, with Island Trading Co.

The NRF says holiday returns are 2 percent higher than the annual rate and that one out of three gift recipients will return at least one item.

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