ABC NEWS - While the days leading up to Dec. 25 were the disappointing Christmas present under the tree for retailers this year, many are hoping post-Christmas sales will entice frugal shoppers.
Retail forecasts appear to be bleak after retailers tried their best with aggressive discounts that started Thanksgiving weekend, so many are hoping that shoppers will come to the rescue today with their gift cards from Santa in hand.
Target Corp. says the day after Christmas is the most popular day to redeem Target gift cards.
The best things to buy immediately after Christmas include apparel and Christmas decorations, according to DealNews. Sales from Banana Republic, Club Monaco, GAP and French Connection are expected to be among the most aggressive, with extra discounts from 30 to 50 percent on top of prices cut by 75 percent already.
ShopperTrak, which analyzes retail shopper traffic, reported that for the week ending Dec. 22, in-store general merchandise sales decreased by 3.1 percent compared to the same week in 2012, while retail brick-and-mortar traffic decreased by 21.2 percent compared to the same period last year.
Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder, blamed bad weather for part of the holiday shopping lull last week.
But shopping activity on Christmas Eve was likely stronger than anticipated, he said.
"Procrastinators really got caught by the shortened season," Martin said, adding that he expects retail sales today and this weekend to be "brisk" partly because of gift recipients' redeeming their gift cards.
Martin said the growing popularity of November shopping has been at the expense of retail activity in December.
"Still, a majority of shopping sales happen in December but it's probably close to a 45-55 [November-December] split at this point and that's on the increase," he said of November shopping.
Spending on Black Friday weekend declined last month, despite more shoppers than last year, the National Retail Federation reported. That was also despite retailers like Walmart announcing "record-breaking" Black Friday results, including more than 22 million customers shopping on Thanksgiving Day.
A spokeswoman for Walmart declined to share figures for the complete holiday season.
"We had a great Christmas shopping season, but if Santa didn't bring you what you wanted," Walmart spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said Wednesday, "we look forward to helping you find great deals [today]."