Late Christmas shoppers fill store aisles

Late Christmas shoppers fill store aisles

December 24th, 2011 by Carey O'Neil in Business Around the Region

STORE HOURS


Hamilton Place and Walnut Square Malls - 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Bradley Square Mall - 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Walgreens - open 24 hours every day

CVS - 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday

Best Buy - 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Toys R Us - Until 10 p.m.

Bi-Lo - 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Target - 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Walmart - Until 8 p.m.

Kmart - 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

All stores closed Sunday unless noted. Mall anchor stores may hold extended hours.

Imagine a young child rushing down the stairs Sunday full of excitement, only to be crushed to find nothing under the tree but dust bunnies.

That would be an all-too common sight if stores weren't open today. One out of every 10 Americans still has some shopping to do, according to the National Retail Federation.

Until as late as 10 p.m. at some local retailers, last-minute shoppers will flood aisles, grabbing whatever gifts they can in a mad sprint to the holiday shopping finish line.

Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping spree and is the busiest day of the year for most retailers, but for the Harrison Kmart, sales hit their highest numbers on the night before Christmas.

This will be Jason Ring's seventh Christmas Eve managing the store. He said it's normally packed right up till the 10 p.m. closing, and most of those customers aren't too short on holiday cheer.

"Overall, it's not bad," he said. "Pretty much the people that shop on Christmas Eve realize they have to take whatever we have left."

And most of those shoppers are exactly who you'd expect.

"As stereotypical as it sounds, a lot of shoppers are men wrapping up their last-minute gifts," said Kathy Grannis, National Retail Federation spokeswoman. "For some, maybe even just starting."

Those procrastinators can be a common sight at Bradley Square Mall. In past years, general manager Stacia Shahan has helped with last-minute gift wrapping and seen more than her share of husbands.

"It was 30 minutes before close one year and I had one guy run up and throw all these yoga clothes down and said, 'I gotta get these wrapped -- I gotta get these out,'" she said.

She could tell the man wasn't too excited about his choices, and he told her his wife wears a medium. The stores were pretty shopped over, so he had to get her a couple extra larges.

Shahan said she put down the clothes, looked at the man and sighed, pointed and said, "The jewelry store is right there."