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Deal hunters pack Gurnee Mills for post-yule sales

David Edwards Antioch sits next an overflowing cart while shopping with his wife Renee two daughters Jennifer Haley Gurnee Mills.

David Edwards of Antioch sits next to an overflowing cart while shopping with his wife, Renee, and two daughters, Jennifer and Haley, at Gurnee Mills. The family was taking advantage of day after Christmas bargains. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 25, 2013 2:23AM

GURNEE — For Carmianna Purvis, 16, the day after Christmas was not just about recreational shopping. The Zion teen was hunting for a Christmas gift for her mother.

“I always wait after I get my Christmas money to get her a gift,” Carmianna said Wednesday while at a jammed Gurnee Mills. She also took advantage of deals for herself, too.

Many of the 200-plus retailers at Gurnee Mills are offering up to 70 or 80 percent off through the new year, according to mall manager Randy Ebertowski.

“There are fabulous deals. It’s an opportunity for people to use gift cards for Christmas or spending money. We had a very successful gift-card season. We beat our goals,” Ebertowski said.

The day after Christmas is among the biggest 6-7 days of shopper traffic at the mall, Ebertowski said. The Mills contracts out a traffic control company to come out and manage traffic on these big shopping days, including the day after Christmas.

“This year, last Saturday (Dec. 22) was the biggest day of the year. It was the biggest Saturday in my career. Most of our parking lots were near capacity,” Ebertowski said, adding that people were still able to get on and off mall property.

The Saturday before Christmas was bigger than Black Friday and Dec. 26, Ebertowski said.

The National Retail Federation projected that this year’s holiday sales would show a 4.1 percent increase over last year’s.

“Our goal is to meet or beat that goal,” Ebertowski said.

The mall will not get its final numbers for another two weeks or so to confirm this. Those numbers are not released to the public.

“We’re beating last year’s numbers in sales and traffic, so we’re happy,” Ebertowski said.

Consuelo Gomez, with her son, Alberto, 15, of Round Lake, were happy with the sales they were finding Wednesday.

“There’s a lot of savings. It’s a tradition to come (here) the day after Christmas,” Gomez said.

She was looking for — and finding — boots and clothes. Alberto was spending his holiday cash.

“I’m wasting it all on shoes, clothes and video games,” Alberto said.

Mary Reid, 14, of Waukegan usually waits to spend her holiday cash on a weekend shopping excursion with friends.

“Today (Wednesday) is a special occasion,” Mary said.

Her parents decided to visit Gurnee Mills, so she went with them.

“It’s the closest mall. They have a lot of stores to spend your money in,” Mary said.

She splurged on shoes and cooking supplies.

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