BROOKLYN - Armed with gift cards and return receipts, Brooklyn residents headed back to stores the day after Christmas.

Retail analysts say shoppers didn't see the big crowds they were anticipating because less people hit the stores this holiday season.

However, businesses expect a 16 percent increase in sales over the next several days. According to the National Retail Federation, retailers are banking on consumers spending more than $26 billion nationwide on gift cards.

Toys "R" Us opened early and offered specials that include a 40-percent price cut on all MP3 and iPod accessories. Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue offered discounts on winter clothing.

Experts advise customers returning unwanted gifts to be aware of store policies. Many retailers are keeping track of people who make frequent returns by checking all driver's licenses and state identification cards at the time of returns.

Stores may also charge a restocking fee on big-ticket items such as computers and televisions.

AP wire reports contributed to this story.