‘Day after’ sales strong

MANATEE -- As usual on the day after Christmas, there were returns and exchanges and this year even more buying was taking place as shoppers took advantage of post-holiday sales.

Retailers did their part in coming up with sale lures that tantalized hungry buyers.

“We had three exchanges, which is nothing,” Charles Williams, owner of Fine Jewelry & Watches at Prime Outlets Mall in Ellenton, said Sunday. “But we were slammed with buyers all day. What it told me was that people were tired of waiting for things to change. They said, ‘Enough, I’m going to get what I want.’”

Williams, whose store is a large-volume dealer for Citizen watches, said he and his staff of five sold lots of watches Sunday.

“We’ve sold a bit of everything, diamonds, watches, chains,” Williams said. “People are tired of doing without. I had one lady burst through the front door and say, ‘I’m here to buy my Christmas gift!’ She bought a new watch for herself.”

At the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Palmetto, buyers flocked to a 50-percent off Christmas item sale and cleaned out racks and racks of toys, Christmas trees and ornaments.

“We had returns but not that many,” said one employee. “The real story is the Christmas sale.”

Bradenton’s Pilar Montague drove to the Wal-mart with her son, David Baron of Lakeland, who is recently divorced and starting over.

“I got him his first thing, a Christmas tree,” said Montague, who is a cus- tomer service represen- tative for the Home Shopping Network in St. Petersburg.

The tree was regularly $88, marked down to $44.

“And it has lights,” a thrilled Baron said.

Sharon Fraher, of Covered Bridge in Ellenton, scored some Christmas ornaments.

“I paid $5 for this package before Christmas and now it’s $2.50,” Fraher said.

Sunday the only parking places available at the outlet mall were the ones closest to Interstate 75 and at the rear of the Ellenton ice rink.

Marie Herfurth, of Michigan, who was visiting her mother, Betty Songelew- ski, of Palmetto, hit a homer with a pair of slippers at the Bass shoe outlet in Ellenton for $13 -- a real savings from the regular price of $69.

“Nice and steady,” Heather Lashua, manager of Kilwin’s Chocolates at the Prime Outlet Mall said, describing the traffic at her store.

It didn’t hurt that there was even a deal on Kilwin’s fudge -- buy two slices, get one free.