Last minute shopping dash underway


At the Bay Street Shopping Center in Emeryville, retailers are getting quite a lovely Christmas gift this year. It's looking like this will be the best season in three years and the buyers keep coming.

"Shopping, came to get some last minute gifts. I just thought about some other people on my list, so I got an extra few dollars to spend thanks to a Christmas bonus," said Oakland resident Kennethan Baird.

The company that manages the Bay Street Shopping Center in Emeryville says sales were up 3 percent in November -- a good indication of how December will pan out. A spokeswoman for Madison Marquette says foot traffic and the number of cars in the parking lot these past few weeks are definitely up.

"I absolutely believe it. We're seeing a turnaround," said store manager Chelsea Stieg.

The manager at the lush Soap store says their sales have improved over last year.

"We've actually been really busy. We've definitely found that we've had a lot of customers that are still crossing people off their list for the holidays so even though few days before Christmas, we're still feeling it," said Stieg.

And it's not over yet. The best Christmas gift for the stores could be that Christmas is on a Saturday, so Friday will be a holiday for most Americans, giving them more time to shop.

"I'm still Christmas shopping. I'm guilty. I'll be Christmas shopping until tomorrow," said Oakland resident Akilah Dunn.

Last minute charity donations are also pouring in. Haleh Agdassi of Cupertino heard that the San Francisco fire fighters' toy drive was hurting for donations. So she drove to the city with bags full of toys.

"It breaks my heart when I hear that on the news and I was looking for something like this, so I wanted to help out," said Agdassi.

Toy drive organizers say it's not that donations were down, but the demand was incredible. They had 60,000 applications for toys this year in San Francisco, compared to 40,000 last year.

"It was really down to the wire. We were doing appointments every minute compared to what we did previously, compared to every two minutes. So, 8:30, 8:31, there were people in line. The line was out the door," said San Francisco toy drive chairperson Sally Casazza.

The San Francisco Fire Department says they will have enough toys this year, barely. They're going to have to be able to stretch to do it, but their supplies aren't where they would like it to be because they like to hand out toys to needy children all year and to fire victims.

As for shopping, the stores will take a pause on Christmas Day, but they'll be ready to start back up again the day after. Banana Republic says they are opening their doors starting at 7 a.m. on Sunday.

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