Theresa Puglise was expecting the worst when she ventured out of her North Naples home Monday morning to return one of her husband's Christmas gifts — a shirt and boxer shorts that didn't fit.
"It's really not as bad as I thought and it's a good day to get good deals too," she said while waiting in a short line at the JCPenney at Coastland Center mall. "The sales are great."
Puglise, 59, was among the shoppers who flocked retail stores and shopping centers the day after Christmas for post-Christmas returns and sales. Although it's too soon to say how big the day after Christmas sales were, many retailers were hoping for the equivalent of a second Black Friday.
Local stores were busy, but not exactly Black Friday-busy. Lines were long but moving smoothly and parking wasn't particularly hard to come by.
On Monday afternoon, lines of about a dozen customers at Best Buy in Naples moved quickly toward three clerks.
Since opening their gifts on Christmas Eve, Oksana Sherman's children have been wanting to exchange the ones that didn't work properly, the North Naples resident said. Sherman, 32, was at Best Buy to exchange a Nintendo Wii remote and a PlayStation charger.
"We picked the line that doesn't move," Sherman said after waiting in line for about 15 minutes.
Donna Mandeville, of Waterford, Conn., chatted with her daughter, Julie Fruth, of Golden Gate Estates, while waiting in line at Best Buy to exchange a Blu-ray player. Mandeville had purchased the Christmas gift back home and discovered that it had cracked piece when her son-in-law and daughter opened it.
"If the line were out the door, we would have turned away," Fruth said.
They were done exchanging their item in about 20 minutes.
Not only were customers returning gifts, some shoppers were also finding deals.
Some stores, including JCPenney and Target, offered half-off deals on selected merchandise. Target, the mega department store based in Minnesota, announced last week that popular women's and children's apparel and home and holiday decor would be marked 50 percent off.
The strategy is that all those Target gift cards doled out as presents can come home to roost the day after Christmas with the sale, said Kathee Tesija, Target's executive vice president of merchandising.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Connect with Tracy X. Miguel at www.naplesnews.com/staff/tracy_x_miguel/