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Last-Minute Shoppers Hit Stores

UNDATED (AP) - Last-minute shoppers are expected to give the
nation's retailers the late surge they need to help them meet
modest sales goals.
In fact, Christmas Eve is expected to end up being a bigger
shopping day than in past years because many employers gave workers
the day off, with the holiday falling on Tuesday.
One woman shopping at an Indianapolis mall this morning said she
was "trying to get some deals, seeing what they got out." She
says, "The sales are better later on."
Consumers jammed stores at the start of the season in search of
discounts, but a challenging economy prompted others to hold out
until the end for bigger discounts.
A spokeswoman at Taubman Centers, which operates 24 malls in 11
states, says the "entire weekend" was strong, and that malls
today were busy from the time they opened.
She says malls are looking to the week ahead when gift cards are
redeemed.
A co-founder of ShopperTrak, which tracks total sales at more
than 50,000 retail outlets, estimates that holiday sales will meet
its forecast of a 3.6 percent gain.
A clearer picture of how the holiday season fared won't be known
until as late as January 10th, when the nation's retailers report
their final December same-store sales figures.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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