Last-minute shoppers snatch up bargains

December 18, 2010 (CHICAGO)

The day's cold weather forced people heading out to do their Christmas shopping in Chicago to really bundle up.

Nevertheless, the countdown was on for shoppers who put off the inevitable until now/

"I found wonderful deals. You got extra off. It was fantastic ," said shopper Angelique Evans.

Chicago area malls, such as Yorktown, were crowded with both procrastinators and those still looking for great shopping bargains.

"I think this year, it's a lot more people out shopping than last year. It's totally different," said shopper Bianca Daniels. "The sales are phenomenal."

As the last weekend before the Christmas holiday, Super Saturday is a gift for retailers looking to boost their bottom lines. Chains like Best Buy extended its store hours and deals.

"We've got a lot of promotional stuff going on. We have everything on sale," Best Buy's Andrew Lee said.

Surprisingly, chilly temperatures did nothing to slow the determined at Oak Brook Shopping Center.

"You get the fresh air. You get invigorated," said Frank Catalano, a shopper.

"We actually provide a gift-wrapping service. It is in a nice, warm room. There is seeking available for them. We wrap their gifts for them free. They get a chance to warm up," said Suzanne Beres of Oak Brook Shopping Center.

At the Microsoft store, customers enjoyed the Greg Spero Quintette as computers and tech gadgets topped the list of holiday gifts.

Industry experts say the last 10 days before Christmas can account for one-third of total holiday sales. With many shoppers having more cash to spend now, those in the know say luxury items like jewelry are back on the gift lists.

"It's much better than projected. I think people are feeling more comfortable that they can spend their money," said Golden Dream Jeweler's Nick Velentzas.

Experts say people are spending about 4 percent more than last year. Retailers say that is good news. A lot of folks are buying apparel and also going for the gift cards. People are requesting those as opposed to getting presents.

Experts advise shoppers not to look for the deep discounts of last year. Retailers have adjusted their inventories and do not have to give those.

Still, better deals might be available after the holidays.

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