Best holiday shopping season in years

More than $850 billion was spent on holiday shopping this year, making it the best season in six years, according to data collected by Mastercard.

Christmas may be over but, for many, holiday shopping is just getting started.

Between gift cards, cash and presents people want to return, the mall is packed full of shoppers, many of them students looking for a good deal.

Laurie Cafe, the Marketing director at Valley View Mall, said, “So it’s going to be a pretty big day today for our retailers.”

With schools on winter break, many students in our area chose to spend the day at the mall.

“With the school off, it definitely gives us a different audience here at the mall, We’ve got students, We’ve got college kids that are home for the long weekend and for a few weeks if they’re here to stay,” Cafe said.

The shoppers are looking to get rid of the gifts they don’t like and find something they love.

“We have the exchanges that come back, of course, fixing the grandma mistakes–the wrong size, the wrong color, whatever–but the gift card exchange has become so huge now that people love to shop for themselves and so we will see a lot of people out here redeeming gift cards,” Cafe said.

To entice shoppers, many retailers are offering new after-Christmas sales.

“The sales have changed from that Christmas Eve pricing. You’re seeing a lot of buy one, get one a certain percent off,” Cafe said.

Jean Arends, the manager of Go Calendars, said, “Everybody comes to get the good buys. We do 50 percent off everything in the store. Younger children are coming to spend their Christmas money. The older people are coming to make certain that they get their calendars and their final purchases to celebrate New Year’s with their family.”

James Giese, the manager of Foot Locker, said he expects the store to be busy for quite some time.

“This year, we sold out of our holiday gift cards. Tomorrow, we have a big release on Air Jordan 1. That’s always a very popular shoe,” Giese said.

Giese said students are spending a lot of money right now.

“A lot of kids running in. They always keep us busy. It’s kind of fun watching the parents deal with them because they’re all wound up after the holidays with their Christmas cash,” Giese said.

And even though the store is seeing a lot of returns, Giese said it’s not going to affect the bottom line.

“If we do take something in, there’s a good chance that we’re just going to sell it again on another day. So no issues there,” Giese said.

The mall said it’s the last big week for holiday shopping.

After Jan. 1 fitness and spring clothes will start to become more popular as people make those New Year’s resolutions.

To find information about the sales happening now go to

Get your weather forecast from people that actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the iOS or Android app here.