Last minute shoppers like Josette Tyne are in luck this year.
With a long weekend before Christmas, retailers want to make it easier for procrastinators to finish their gift buying. Macys for the first time is keeping all its stores open around the clock from Friday until Sunday at midnight. Toys R Us and Walmart Supercenters will be open non-stop until Christmas Eve.
Even those retailers skipping the all nighter still have added extended hours often as late as 11 pm or midnight. Coupled with a flurry of last minute promotions, they hope to lure shoppers, many of whom have been largely sitting on the sidelines since Black Friday.
Tyne, 33, just starting her shopping this week at Aventura Mall, armed with a list of about two dozen people and the presents they wanted. The list would have been longer if the Fort Lauderdale resident hadnt limited it to the kids in her family.
Ill probably be shopping every day from now till Sunday, said Tyne, as she wheeled the youngest of her three boys around H&M in a stroller before heading on to Game Stop, Urban Outfitters and BCBG. Whatever catches my eye. Luckily the kids usually like everything I get. Im the awesome Auntie.
A Consumer Reports Poll released earlier this week found that with just five shopping days left until Christmas, a whopping 68 percent of shoppers a projected 132 million Americans have yet to finish their holiday shopping.
With an early Thanksgiving leaving an extra week until Christmas and a long weekend before Tuesdays holiday, shoppers have felt little need to rush. They also havent found December deals to be quite as compelling as the November sales.
Based on disappointing sales trends earlier this month, ShopperTrak said Wednesday it was cutting its holiday sales forecast. The company, which counts foot traffic and its own proprietary sales numbers from 40,000 retail outlets across the country, now expects a 2.5 percent sales increase to $257.7 billion, down from the 3.3 percent growth it initially predicted. The National Retail Federation is sticking with its prediction of a 4.1 percent sales increase.
Online sales trends are more encouraging, up 13 percent to $35 billion from Nov. 1 through Dec. 16, according to comScore, an online research firm. But that pace is below the forecast of 17 percent for the season.
Its coming down to the wire, said David Bassuk, managing director and co-head of the retail practice at AlixPartners, a global consulting firm. Its going to require retailers to be more aggressive with their promotions than they were hoping heading into the weekend.
While the economy is certainly in a better position than it was during the recession, many consumers still feel uneasy this year about their financial future. Some are worried about the U.S. job market and others fear the stalemate between Congress and the White House over federal fiscal cliff that could lead to tax increases and less disposable income for shoppers.
That was the case for Latonya Jones, on the hunt for bargains at Aventura Mall, coupon-loaded iPad in hand.
I wasnt going to buy anything this year, because I wanted to save money, said Jones, 39, of Miami Gardens, who was shopping with her daughter Richelle, 12, this week in Macys. But then I changed my mind.