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Stores hustle to attract last-minute Christmas shoppers

3 months, 3 weeks ago from Chicago Tribune

This year, stores are trying to make the most of an especially short holiday season

From from Chicago Tribune:

In store after store, signs trumpeted 50%-off deals, buy-one-get-one-free promotions and free gift cards with purchases. Shoppers scuttled past holiday decorations with bags hanging from their hands to their elbows. A little girl at Old Navy begged her mother to ask Santa to buy her three glittery plastic bracelets in different colors.

Black Friday? Try Super Saturday.

The start of the last weekend before Christmas is indisputably one of the busiest shopping days of the year. ShopperTrak ranks it second in sales and foot traffic, behind only the Friday after Thanksgiving.

It's an especially nerve-racking event for retailers because it signals the final push before Christmas — and their last chance to prop up their earnings and empty their shelves before the end of the year.

The holiday season accounts for as much as 40% of some stores' annual revenue. The National Retail Federation anticipates that sales will rise 3.9% compared with last year's holiday season, to $602 billion.

Stores are bracing for the annual influx of returns and shopper ennui that arrives Dec. 26 and tends to last well into January. Retailers then slash prices on remaining inventory to make room for the incoming spring collections.

Loath to essentially give away leftover stock at the end of the year, retailers are hustling to pack in shoppers now.

Toys R Us said it will stay open for 87 straight hours before Christmas; Kohl's will keep the lights on for more than 100 hours. Barnes & Noble is plying shoppers with free gift wrapping.

"I call it Procrastinator Saturday," Moody's analyst Scott Tuhy said. "People finally realize there's only two more shopping days to go. It's a very impactful weekend.

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Bob Gough on Twitter

Bob Gough 6 hours, 17 minutes ago

After a teeeerrrrible first period, Miller was outstanding the rest of the game. #LGB
Bob Gough on Twitter

Bob Gough 6 hours, 22 minutes ago

Tremendous puck control by Ott to set up Steen.
Bob Gough on Twitter

Bob Gough 6 hours, 25 minutes ago

Bob Gough on Twitter

Bob Gough 6 hours, 44 minutes ago

Be a wall, brother. #LGB