Last-minute shoppers flock to stores before Christmas

December 23, 2012 9:46:06 AM PST
On the final Saturday before Christmas, crowds of shoppers hit the streets of Midtown Manhattan in search of gifts.

November to December can account for 40 percent of a store's sales.

And if the crowds in Herald Square were any indication, stores were making a lot of money on Saturday.

It was hard to move without getting stuck amid the throngs of last minute holiday shoppers.

Armed with bags and coupons, they dashed from store to store looking for the best deals, three days before Christmas.

Chris Mereti is visiting from Frankfurt, Germany and was taking a shopping break when we met him, leaving the shopping to his wife and daughter.

"In Germany it's very expensive now." Mereti said. "And the relation between the Euro and the dollar is very good for us. So we thought we'd come to New York."

Asked what the stores were like, tourist Stephanie Adams said "Crazy. There are a million people everywhere."

Inside Macy's flagship store on 34th Street, shoppers are gobbling up last minute gifts, many marked down.

"It's a madhouse," said shopper Byron Calanayan. "Everybody pushing each other. Trying to get the sales."

Calanavan left warm and sunny California for a chilly New York City for the Christmas holiday. He asys he's glad he waited until the last minute to buy presents.

"There was a lot of good deals for what you're buying, especially say like perfume for the packages, purses. There are really good deals in there, like 50 and 60 percent off."

On this Super Saturday of shopping, the Business Improvement District of 34th Street reports a 27 percent increase in shopping in Herald Square compared to last year.

The group counted the number of shopping bags entering and exiting stores.

But nationwide, sales have been lackluster because of a weak labor market and concerns over the fiscal cliff.

According to Consumer Reports, two thirds of Americans still have shopping left to do.

At Bryant Park, tourists and New Yorkers alike flooded a makeshift shopping village, hoping to snatch up that last minute gift.

"For the most part there have been some incredible sales," said Bronx resident Mark Crosswell.

A record number of people are shopping on the web this year, but the storms in the Midwest are jeopardizing some shipping.

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