Christmas may be past but the shopping season still is in full swing as people with cash to spend or gifts to return are continuing to browse stores in Belmont, Ohio and Marshall counties.
While shopping Thursday at the St. Clairsville Kmart, Martins Ferry resident Trisha Goddard said she was surprised more people weren't taking advantage of the after-Christmas deals, but was pleased the store wasn't too crowded.
She was stocking up on wrapping paper and gift sets after returning a broken toy for her 3-year-old daughter Jessica.
"They don't have it in stock so we're going to Toys R Us to find it," Goddard said of a Mickey Mouse kitchen playset.
Shadyside resident Lisa Johnson also was shopping at Kmart, but noted she started her day at 7 a.m. at Wal-Mart in St. Clairsville.
"I'm getting stuff for half off for next Christmas. I'm not returning stuff today - I'm just looking for some deals," Johnson said.
Mary Ann Tichnell traveled to Kmart from Moundsville on Thursday to stock up on holiday decorating items. She was using two shopping carts to haul her load.
"Everything is half price - even gift sets and cologne. They make nice birthday gifts. My mom got me a Santa that didn't work and I got all of these for the price of him," Tichnell said of the toddler-sized Santa, Mrs. Claus and elves.
At The Highlands Target, Bellaire resident Kathy Taylor was looking to purchase a sweater she noticed before Christmas.
"We downsized this year. ... I worked (on Christmas Day) and conked out early last night - otherwise I probably wouldn't be up this early," said Taylor, a nurse.
St. Clairsville resident Debbie Yarbrough was busy filling her Target cart with discounted gift wrap and decorative items.
"I could decorate three houses. I've been doing this for 30 years," Yarbrough said.
The Walmart store in Moundsville had a dozen employees early Thursday preparing for the store's opening at 5 a.m., said assistant store manager Mark Smith. Smith said although the number of people with returns were steady, the numbers were not as large as years before.
"It's been slow," Smith said. "It hasn't been as crazy as in years past. Today's has been different and it could be because it's a weekday."
Smith said many people come in to the store to redeem gift cards the day after Christmas, which are becoming more popular for parents and grandparents to give. Smith also said electronics sales are just as strong after Christmas as before the holiday, since the cards are often spent on electronic goodies. Holiday decorations as well as clearance toys will be on sale until the merchandise is gone, Smith said.