Holiday shopping: Final push

Holly Shively, Dayton Daily News, Ohio (TNS)

Retailers are adding extra incentives to draw shoppers into stores as the countdown to Christmas runs down.

Despite the “Christmas crawl” — the trend that has moved a lot of sales earlier in the holiday season — shoppers still aren’t done finding gifts. Retailers across the region will offer deep discounts when millions of shoppers hit the stores today, according to store traffic tracker ShopperTrak.

“There will be certain sales and different things to get people in the store, no doubt about it,” said Alex Boehnke, spokesman for the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants. “I think we’re going to finish strong here.”

Mary Burns, of Springboro, was shopping at the Dayton Mall Thursday afternoon, and said she was finding deals as good as during Black Friday weekend in late November.

“I did previous shopping last month or so. I did some online shopping; I like in-store shopping because you get to see and touch the fabric or the objects. I came out today because I never think I have enough,” Burns said. “I just scan the store and pick up a few more items.”

Ken Latchney, of Troy, was shopping Christmas gifts for the first time this season Thursday, saying work had been too hectic earlier to get out shopping.

“Normally I try to plan ahead and try to take advantage of Black Friday as much as I can, but I didn’t do that this year,” he said.

Latchney isn’t alone, with more than a third of shoppers still having some shopping to do. About 24 percent of holiday shoppers planned to purchase their final gifts Saturday or today, 7 percent said they’ll still be shopping through Christmas Eve and another 4 percent will head out after the Christmas holiday to buy their final gifts.

Super Saturday, the Saturday before Christmas, was predicted to have 134 million shoppers, up from 126 million last year. Actual numbers from this year haven’t been tallied yet.

The retailers also increased their hours as the holiday approaches.

Many of the last-minute purchases will be in physical stores, which have struggled after consumer shopping habits shifted some sales online. But low unemployment and larger take-home pay for some shoppers have retailers encouraged.

“It’s going to help drive sales. The fact that people are out and about they’re going to spend money at other places … they’re going to eat and drink as well,” Boehnke said.

Holly Shively, Dayton Daily News, Ohio (TNS)

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