Weak retail season sees last-minute shoppers

December 24, 2008 8:46:06 PM PST
Last-minute shopping this Christmas Eve may not be enough to boost the weakest holiday season for retailers since 1969.Retailers are trying to lure customers with discounts as high as 70 percent.

Long lines of last-minute shoppers formed at Kmart on Christmas Eve. The store was one of the few stores to remain open past 6 p.m. The big box store was one stop shopping for those needing to get everything from the present itself to the gift wrap.

"Stressful. I don't know what I'm going to get the people who I got," said Shimera Fendy, last-minute shopper.

Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg was also crowded. The Macy's there stayed open 108 hours straight hoping to attract customers. After all, the holiday season accounts for nearly half of some retailers earnings.

But this year it's going to be anything but merry for most. Some economists predict sales at major stores for November and December will be the weakest since 1969.

"I would normally buy for other people besides my family. But this year it's just family," said Polly Campbell.

"I think I'm spending less. I'm being more careful. I'm being more cautious," said Tina Chambers.

But is part of the downturn psychological.

"They are tightening up because they are believing that things are bad," said shopper Mike Harkins.

Unfortunately, not everyone thinks like that. And despite deep discounts and a day after Thanksgiving shopping binge. most Americans are staying tight fisted.

"I got half off a lot of things so that's really nice," said Phoebe McHenry.

"A lot of good bargains on the last day," said bargain hunter Chad Detlaff.


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