Shoppers still swarming local malls after Christmas

Christmas may have passed but shoppers are still swarming the malls to spend gift cards and return unwanted gifts.

According to the National Retail Federation, the week following Christmas is prime time to hit the stores.

More than half the people they surveyed plan to take advantage of post-holiday sales, and about a quarter of the people they surveyed said they would use gift cards. And 17 percent say they plan to make returns or exchanges.

National Retail Federation Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz says consumers are confident this holiday season, and they're predicting that retail sales would be up somewhere around 4.3 percent and 4.8 percent compared to this time last year.

The optimism they're seeing is contrary to some recent indicators, as Wall Street is coming off its worst week in seven years.

The dark cloud hanging over the economy nationwide may be a littler heavier in the D.C. area, where a partial government shutdown has many employees wondering when they will get their next paycheck.