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Last-minute shoppers scramble for gifts on Christmas Eve

Magic Valley Mall

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By Michelle Costa

With Friday being Christmas Eve, many locals are scrambling to find those last minute Christmas gifts.

Although the recession may still be on the back of people's minds, this year, an early study from the National Retail Federation finds consumers aren't just focusing on low prices and basic necessities, like last year.

Stores are expecting big sales: holiday spending is expected to reach 451 billion dollars this year. That's up 3% from last year.

It's down to the wire for these last minute shoppers: picking out presents for loved ones, on Christmas Eve.

One shopper is Loran Nielson, "I come out to do last minute Christmas shopping because I like to procrastinate, which I think a lot of people do."

Another last minute shopper is Damir Delic, who said, "I'm always so behind on my Christmas shopping. Come in here and try to buy things for my parents."

If these past five shopping weeks pan out, the Magic Valley Mall staff expects sale averages to end stronger than the national average, with big jumps in health and beauty, shoes, and apparel.

As in years past, most holiday gift-givers will spend the largest portion of their budget buying gifts for family and friends, stores say this year they're seeing more people spend more money.

Penny O’Keefe, with The Sunglass Hut, said, "They've been going pretty good this year. A lot of people have waited till the last minute though."

Johnny Gonzales, with Custom Cell, said "If you're anything like I am, you do your last minute Christmas shopping. Seeing that we sell cell phone cases, they're coming in and trying to get that last minute shopping."

Gift wrapper Chazarae Shoup said, "Pretty busy. Usually we have a 10 minute break then we get slammed again. I think we wrapped more presents this year."

Steve Avalos, with The Buckle, said, "Chaos. It's crazy. We have about 75 percent of guys walking in the door and they're kind of deer in the headlights. We've seen our average sale has been amazing. The mall parking lot is crazy out there. We've been doing really well. It's been a good season. Santa's been good to me."


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