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In the Granite State, Kyle said about 95 percent of retailers have reported strong holiday shopping seasons so far, and that despite the somewhat discouraging national sales figures, she's hoping to see that trend continue in the last week of December.

For shoppers, they mean that many retailers will resort to deep discounts this week in a last ditch effort to bring in shoppers before the close of the year.

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As prices for gas and natural gas fall, making it a little easier for people to fuel their cars Omega Seamaster Red

The current economic climate should help, she said.

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Christmas sales expected to draw crowds

Best Buy is offering shoppers a three day sale that goes through Thursday, with deals on everything from televisions and computers to digital cameras, music and movies.

and heat their homes, shoppers are more likely to have, and spend, some discretionary income.

At Walmart, holiday items are Omega Watch Book

Meanwhile, the National Retail Federation was expecting millions headed to malls and shopping centers in the days after Christmas, many in search of returns. Consumers are expected to return about $62.7 billion worth of goods this holiday season, the organization reported Wednesday, the day likely to be the biggest for returns.

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When she was a child, her mother would go out to get discounted holiday decorations and candy. These days, as president of the Retail Merchants Association of New Hampshire, Kyle spends her time working with local retailers and monitoring business in the state.

As spending data continues to roll in, it appears shoppers weren't exactly in the spending mood this holiday season, with many analysts attributing lower spending to Hurricane Sandy, talks of the "fiscal cliff" and the deadly shooting in Newtown, Conn.

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So what do all these numbers mean?

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By the week before Christmas, analysts began lowering their sales forecasts. retailers, cut back its holiday forecast to $257.7 bullion, a 2.5 percent gain over last year. Previously, the company estimated a 3.3 percent sales growth in 2012.

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on clearance, and the retailer appealed to Omega Speedmaster Professional On Wrist

Last year, shoppers were out in force the day after Christmas, spending $7.1 billion, according to ShopperTrak. Those sales represented a 25.5 percent increase over same day sales from 2010. Foot traffic in stores on Dec. 26, 2011, also increased.

And those shoppers will be bombarded with deep discounts on other goods.

shoppers to come in and find the things they didn't get for Christmas.

Target shoppers can receive up to $60 off televisions and digital cameras this week, while storage containers for holiday decorations are hugely discounted. DVDs will range from $4 to $12, while shoppers looking for Apple products can receive free gift cards with their purchases.

"A lot of it has to do with the evolution of the gift card," Kyle said. "As more and more people give gift cards, the days after Christmas are very important for retail. The day after Christmas has always been a popular shopping day the evolution of the gift card has just turned it into the week after Christmas."

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Omega Constellation

According to the NRF, sales in November and December account for as much as 40 percent of retailers' annual sales. And unfortunately for retailers, cutting costs to bring in shoppers can mean lower profits.

And if all else fails, retailers can depend on shoppers walking through their doors to return gawdy holiday sweaters and neckties in the days after Christmas.

This year, after holiday shopping did not yield high profits for many retailers, after Christmas shopping will be all the more important, and shoppers likely will benefit.

Holiday apparel, home goods and even food, from cookies and cakes to candy, are also on clearance at retailers and grocery stores around the region.

But retailers still have time to make up lost ground. The last week of December typically accounts for about 15 percent of the month's sales, according to the NRF.

The National Retail Federation, meanwhile, projected an estimated $586 million in sales, an increase of 4.1 percent, compared to last year's 5.6 percent gain.

Shoppers also can find Barnes Noble Nook e readers for as low at $79, and digital cameras for as low Omega Constellation as $69.

And in front of her eyes, Dec. 26 has transformed from a day to grab next year's stocking stuffers and ornaments into a full blown retail holiday that often rivals Black Friday.

For as long as she can remember, the day after Christmas has been full of shopping for Nancy Kyle.

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