Dec 24, 2010 2:36 AM by Ariel Wesler

Shoppers rush to pick up last minute gifts

Tomorrow night, Santa heads into the skies but tonight local shoppers were grabbing up some last minute buys.

Nationwide, the last minute rush caps off the best year since 2007 and possibly ever. Both locally-owned and big box stores hope to finish strongly tomorrow.

It's an annual tradition some refer to as Black Friday. . .Part Two.

"I think everyone is waiting for the best deal and the better prices are closer to Christmas," said Stacey Miller of Grover Beach.

Tom's Toys in downtown San Luis Obispo says it had a very busy week, despite the rain.

"It didn't affect business too much around Christmas because everyone still has that immediate need to get what their looking for," said Assistant Manager Jack McKeen.

Parents came in looking for this year's hottest items.

Star Wars Legos have been really big," McKeen said.

"Video games is where it's at," said Maggie McGrath.

One of the most sought after systems is the Kinect for Xbox 360. Naturally, I had to know more. In the end, I earned an "A" for effort. Movies and e-readers were other best sellers.

"It's fun because it's people that come in and say 'I don't know what to get, and I have to get something for my 7 year-old son,' so you get to help them find the perfect Christmas gift," McGrath said.

"We've been moving from one home to another home over the last three weeks, so Christmas got shoved right to the very end," said Lea Jefferis of Paso Robles.

Which means you could be standing at the end of the line, or not.

"I thought maybe parking would be bad, but it actually wasn't a big deal," said Brian O'Neill of San Luis Obispo.

Still, no matter when you shop, the message is clear. Everyone is looking to spread a little holiday cheer. But if your gifts don't bring as much joy as you wished, returns and exchanges could be next on your list.

The National Retail Federation predicts holiday sales will reach $451.5 billion this year, up more than three percent from last year. The record for holiday sales was set in 2007 at just under $453 billion nationwide.


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