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Stores Prepare For Christmas Returns, Post-Holiday Sales

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CHICAGO (CBS) – For many people, the day after Christmas is a day to go back to the stores. It’s not just about exchanging what you got for what you really want, stores also are offering new sales to make up for a slow holiday shopping season.

CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports some shoppers were out before dawn to take advantage of post-holiday deals, and begin returning gifts.

Before you head out, make sure to check your store’s return policies, as some stores have changed their policy. According to the Better Business Bureau, return fraud amounts to billions of dollars a year in lost revenue, so many stores have become more restrictive about returns.

For example, although Macy’s will take returns anytime, and will give you the full price for any return with a receipt, if you don’t have a receipt, you’ll only get the lowest price offered on your item over the last 180 days.

If the item you want to return was purchased through Amazon, the online store will only take returns through Jan. 31, 2014, for any item bought between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, 2013.

Best Buy recently shortened its return policy this year by nine days. The deadline is now Jan. 15 for returns of Christmas gifts.

Toys R Us has a new extended holiday return period for most items – until Jan. 26 – but certain electronics must be returned within 30 days of purchase.

As for sales, retail analysts have said post-Christmas deals are better than ever, because of a slow shopping season. According to USA Today, sales growth this year is likely to be the weakest since the height of the recession in 2009.

Retailers hope to make up for slow holiday sales with big post-Christmas discounts.

Denise House was at the Kohl’s in Bucktown, which opened at 5 a.m. on Thursday. House said she’s never gone shopping the day after Christmas before, but couldn’t resist the deals being offered this year.

“Cheap stuff on sale; real good deals – better than they were doing for Christmas, so I got up and came out,” she said.

Shoppers don’t have to rush to the stores to return or exchange gifts, or to take advantage of post-holiday sales, but the big deals won’t last long, and — especially when it comes to electronics — many stores will accept returns for only a couple weeks.