Bay Area shoppers take advantage of after Christmas sales

Just because Christmas is over doesn’t mean the shopping season is. 

Shoppers came from all over to the San Francisco Outlets in Livermore Thursday for a day of retail therapy. 

Joanna Cardenas made the trip in from Stockton. 

“I came to exchange a gift," she said. "It fit me kind of small so we’re going to look and see if there’s something in the store for me.”

Cardenas said she came the day after Christmas to avoid the risk of missing the return and exchange dates. 

“We just wanted to make sure it wasn’t too late to return the stuff or exchange. Make sure it’s not late for that,” she concluded.

Daniel Castagnola wasn't there to make an exchange, but instead to take his two daughters on a little shopping spree. 

“We were looking forward to getting some shopping done as part of their Christmas present,” he said. 

Parking was an aggressive game of finders keepers and the outlet had traffic control to help manage the chaos. The mall added 600 new parking spots bringing the total to 3800 in order to accommodate thousands of shoppers. 

Castagnola noted, “I saw the parking guys out here, I knew it was going to be pretty busy but it’s actually not too bad. We got front row parking.”

Some had it easier than others and most shoppers said the sales were worth it. Some stores were so busy it looked like the outside of a concert with ropes and crowds waiting to get in.

Shopper Manpreet Singh said, “It’s crazy busy. Crazy busy. We’ve been sitting in line for so long just to pay our stuff. It took us like 10-15 minutes just to pay for our stuff.”

Long lines are just one of the reasons so many people chose to shop on the web or from their phones. Online sales were up almost 19% this year over last year and made up nearly 15% of all retail sales according to numbers from Mastercard SpendingPulse. 

But for some nothing can beat the thrill of walking out with bags in hand and stocking up on bargain deals. Experts say if you want to avoid the crowds then shopping after the New Year’s holiday is best.