Shoppers more frugal, some are waiting until after Christmas

NEW YORK (AP) - A company that operates 28 shopping malls across the country is reporting a "very strong weekend," with shoppers taking advantage of sales.

But many last-minute shoppers say they are spending less than they did last year.

Kris Betzold was shopping at an Indianapolis mall today, looking for deals on toys. She says the sales are "even better now than they were at Thanksgiving." But she says the economy has prompted her to be more frugal this year.

A woman at an Atlanta mall today said she's spending $500 on gifts this year, half the amount she normally spends. Dianne Ashford says, "Times are hard."

Some last-minute shoppers said they are holding off as much as possible for even bigger post-holiday sales.

Maureen Whyte, shopping today at Macy's in New York, says she's told her kids that whatever they don't get this week, they'll get later on.

Research analyst Marshall Cohen of the market research firm NPD says retailers will have to be more aggressive than usual with discounts on the days after Christmas. That could mean some stores will cut prices by as much as 80 percent to clear inventory. He says consumers will be "rewarded for waiting."

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