At Southland Mall in Hayward, stores were open late Wednesday night and it was teeming with shoppers right down to the mall's closing time at 10 p.m. Meanwhile, other stores like Kohl's stayed open until midnight.
Retailers are trying to make the most of what experts are saying is a recovering economy.
Despite selling out of every Air Jordan Space Jam shoe, except for a baby pair, shoe store manager Noor Khan is hoping business gets better.
"This year is a little lower, it's down, but we're hoping in the last-minute it can pick up. But yeah, it's slower than last year," said Khan.
Still economists say Americans are starting to spend a bit more. New numbers show consumer spending posted a second straight monthly increase in November, rising half a percent. Still, that is not enough to power a strong economic recovery.
"If I see something at regular price, I don't buy it. I buy like almost the same thing to try to save more money," said Maria Murillo from Hayward.
Store managers at Southland say if it's not on sale, it won't sell.
There are small signs that recovery from a deep recession is proceeding in fits and starts. At the same time, experts say the economy is much improved from this time last year when the nation was gripped by the financial crisis.
Regardless, even with huge discounts, high end retailers -- like jewelry stores -- say they are hurting.
Meanwhile discount stores, like Kohl's, say they are so busy, they are running out of merchandise.
"Very busy. Hectic. A lot of clothes everywhere," said Talika Calaway, from the Kohl's customer service department.
Calaway says children's apparel is selling the best. "Shoes especially are going really fast, as well as the jeans and the jackets."
The manager of Kohl's told ABC7 they have a goal of $50,000 in daily sales, but in the past few days they've been selling more than $70,000 worth of merchandise each day.
So we're seeing success in some sectors of retail which could help trigger an overall recovery.