published Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Chattanooga area stores extend hours for last-minute shopping

Karen Wilson, right, helps Julie Beach check out at Learning Express Toys on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013. Beach was doing some last minute holiday shopping.
Karen Wilson, right, helps Julie Beach check out at Learning Express Toys on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013. Beach was doing some last minute holiday shopping.
Photo by C. B. Schmelter.

Some Chattanooga merchants are ending the holiday season the same way they began it — with round-the-clock, marathon shopping hours. But most department stores and malls will close at 6 tonight.

Most Kohl's and Kmart stores have stayed open for five straight days, ending at 6 tonight. The Kmart location in Dalton, Ga., didn't stay open around the clock, but it is opening at 6 a.m. today for the final 12 hours of shopping before Christmas.

CBL & Associates Properties, the Chattanooga-based shopping center company, is opening its Hamilton Place, Northgate and Walnut Square in Dalton at 7 a.m. today -- three hour before its normal Tuesday opening time -- to capture last-minute shoppers expected to flood the malls until their 6 p.m. closing.

"We want to make it as convenient as possible for shoppers," said Catherine Walls, marketing director for Hamilton Place Mall, one of the biggest malls in Tennessee. "We've seen good crowds and it looks to be another positive year, but we want to finish strong."

Bradley Square Mall in Cleveland will be open today from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The expanded hours in the final days before Christmas are reminiscent of how some retailers typically begin the season on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday. The strategy comes as stores try to recoup a sales season that is six days shorter this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas than it was a year ago.

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