H-CENTRAL COAST

Dec 22, 2011 3:15 AM by Ariel Wesler

Last-minute holiday shopping could bring big business

The holiday shopping season hasn't died down since black Friday kicked off last month. According to the research firm, Shopper Trak, sales from November through Saturday rose 2.5%.

Now, retailers are hoping shoppers will continue their holiday spending during these final days before Christmas.

This is the first holiday season for the Target in San Luis Obispo. To accommodate those last minute shoppers, the store has extended its hours to midnight until Christmas Eve, but there's another big box store going even further.

At the Toys "R" Us in Santa Maria, carts were full of toys for good little girls and good little boys.

We were looking for a game for our daughter," said Brandy Flint, who was with her husband.

But many last-minute shoppers this year say they weren't waiting by choice.

"People are waiting for the last paycheck. We get a little incentive if we haven't called in sick," Flint said.

This year, Toys "R" Us has become a procrastinator's paradise. All stores are staying open 24
hours-a-day until Christmas Eve.

That's 112 straight hours of holiday shopping that began on Tuesday.

"That's so cool," said Toby Boyamba of Santa Maria.

While extended hours are common place this time of year, some say stores are taking it too far.

"It's just over the top. I feel sorry for the people who have to work there. Sure, they're making money but I'm sure some of them would rather be home," said Dong Lassig of Arroyo Grande.

Still, Christmas is just around the corner, so as long as you find what you're looking for, some say there is a bright side to those who are shopping down to the wire.

"It's not as crowded as Black Friday, maybe the deals aren't quite as good but you're not getting maced by somebody who's trying to get after something," Lassig said.

The shopping momentum is good news for retailers, but they can't breathe easy just yet. This final week before Christmas, includes four of the top 10 holiday shopping days and can account for up to 20 percent of sales for the season.

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