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The Season's Not Over Yet

In a sign of how much the holiday shopping season is evolving, some mall managers were shocked by the strong burst of activity starting the morning after Christmas.

Vista Ridge Mall's marketing manager, Debi Martinez, wrote a note Tuesday to put in her file for next year's holidays.

"I regret we didn't open the mall earlier than 9 a.m. the day after Christmas," she wrote. "Parking lots were full when I got here at 8:30 a.m. Shoppers weren't just at the department stores that opened early; there were tons of people in the mall."

While some early, unofficial results are calling the holiday shopping season disappointing, crowded stores and parking lots indicate the season continues unabated. Enticed by new markdowns, pre-dawn openings and loaded gift cards, holiday shoppers were out again Tuesday.

So while the pre-Christmas portion of the season looks like it will come in at the low end of expectations there's still a lot that needs to be sorted through. There is the post-holiday sales rush that's in full swing, which also includes returns, exchanges and people cashing in gift cards. The other factor is the level of promotional activity before Christmas and today and how much that will cut into retailer profits.

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