Stores keep doors open as long as possible

December 24, 2010 7:35:05 PM PST
Procrastinators packed stores on Christmas Eve, grabbing those last few presents, gift cards, and the finishing touches for Christmas dinner. For stores, the 11th-hour dash caps the best holiday season since 2007 and possibly the best ever. The National Retail Federation predicts that holiday sales will reach more than $451 billion this year -- that's up 3.3 percent over last year.

In the final hours, shoppers did their best holiday hustle at Santana Row in San Jose.

Running from store to store, Dave Davies is a grandfather from Campbell on a mad dash to finish by tonight. He says, "Well, I put everything off until the last minute. Now, I'm just desperately running around."

Mary Miller from San Jose just started shopping.

"There's not much in the mall and things are going quick, people are nice, there's no lines, I'm loving it. I'm glad I waited," says Miller.

Christmas Eve crowds were not hectic at San Jose's Valley Fair Mall. Retailers report that overall the season has been bright

"That's what I think all economists have been saying is that this year people are buying things not only for others and also for themselves and they're indulging a little bit," says Jillian Bonde, an assistant manager at Tory Burch.

It could make 2010 the best holiday spending season in four years, but retailers have had to work for every penny. Some stores opened earlier than ever on Black Friday. And now on Christmas Eve, retailers such as Best Buy were open and ready early.

"We've been open since 7 this morning. We actually decided to open an hour earlier than normal," says Best Buy manager Dallas Cartar.

And for at least one, it's been a marathon week; Toys-R-Us has been open for almost 88 hours straight. It will close at 10 p.m. Christmas Eve night. Is it the start of a new retail trend? Managers told ABC7 people do shop in the middle of the night.

"I am trying to get the shopping done and names off the list?but I can find stuff and it's the day before Christmas, so it's good," says Stephen Toth.

Back at the mall, Davies is about finished. Hoping for happy grandkids on Christmas Day and says next year he won't procrastinate.

"I'm wondering if I've got everybody, so it's a sad story and I am ashamed I am here," says Davies.

Retailers will pause for the holiday, but will go right back to work the day after Christmas. Some of the deals begin as early as 7 a.m.