With visions of discounts dancing in their heads, some Paducah area shoppers hit the ground running Thursday.
Shopping on Dec. 26 is something Dianne Merritt of Martin, Tenn., and husband Dwight Merritt enjoy doing each year, going out to eat and making a day of it.
The couple, who had started their day at the Walmart in Martin, visited the Kmart in Paducah in search of a half-price artificial Christmas tree.
"We always come to Kmart the day after Christmas," Merritt said, adding that the store always has good deals that day.
Kmart assistant manager Trent Simmons said when the doors opened at 8 a.m. Thursday, several customers were lined up outside. Simmons said most of the people he'd seen in the store that morning were there, like the Merritts, to take advantage of 50 percent discounts on Christmas decorations and other seasonal items.
"I think sales will be pretty good," Simmons said late Thursday morning.
After their visit to Kmart, Merritt said she and her husband would make Kentucky Oaks Mall, Trees 'n Trends and Hobby Lobby their next stops.
Like Merritt, Sandy Sisco of Livingston County visited Kmart in search of discounted Christmas items.
Sisco, who had already been to Hobby Lobby and planned to visit Walgreens and CVS next, said she buys Christmas decorations and gift wrap every year on Dec. 26.
"Normally [on the day after Christmas] you can get, basically, a $5 roll of paper for $1.25," Sisco said.
"I do ... Black Friday but, mainly, the day after Christmas, to me, is better sales," Merritt said.
Chuck Hank, owner of Hank Brothers True Value Hardware on Lone Oak Road, said most Dec. 26 shoppers are looking for discounts.
As in years past, the hardware store offered discounts Thursday but, Hank said, after-Christmas sales were down compared to previous years.
Hank said several factors may have contributed, including the economy.
"A lot of people are out of work," Hank said. "I feel people are uncertain about the health care system, or uneasy about it maybe, and are not sure about what their cost is going to be."
Hank added that folks' preparations for the recent snow and ice storms may have cut into their disposable income.
While Dec. 26 is also often thought of as the day people return gifts they don't like, Merritt said she hadn't made any returns and she didn't notice other people making returns at the Kmart in Paducah or the Walmart in Martin.
Annie Hutson, who helps run Nola's Boutique in Paducah, said there were no returns made to her knowledge at the women's clothing store Thursday.
Hutson said she believes most people who were shopping for others in Nola's this holiday season bought gift cards.
Nola's Boutique, 451 Jordan Drive, opened in May.
Hutson - whose mother, Cindy Hutson, owns the store - said she saw quite a bit of foot traffic Thursday.
"We've been pleasantly surprised. Busy," Hutson said.
She said some of Thursday's customers were definitely looking for sale items.
The store announced on its Facebook page Thursday that it was offering a rack of items selling for $30 each and another rack of items selling for 30 percent off.
Hutson said she wasn't sure how long the store would hold the sales on those items.
"Hopefully it'll all be gone soon," she said.
Contact Leann Fuller, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.