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Malls set for 'Super Saturday' rush as Christmas shoppers leave it late


If you're heading to the mall on Saturday to finish off your Christmas shopping prepare for a crush – it could well be the busiest shopping day of the year.

Dubbed "Super Saturday," the last Saturday before Christmas is usually the second biggest shopping day of the year after Black Friday, but last year it was bigger with Black Friday sales decreasing as more stores opened on Thanksgiving Day.

According to the Los Angeles Times, retailers are pulling out all the stops to snag last-minute shoppers and Christmas procrastinators, with Kohl's for example now open around the clock until 6 p.m. Christmas Eve.

"It's an important part of both the holiday season and the total year," said Bill Martin, founder of ShopperTrak, told the LA Times. "There's always a group of people who purposely wait, as that is their strategy. Others just procrastinate."

Richfield-based Best Buy meanwhile has been encouraging online shoppers by offering free two-day shipping on many items until 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, while the Brainerd Dispatch reports J.C. Penney is offering "doorbuster" savings in store from 8 a.m. to midnight on Saturday and online.

In Minnesota, Target CEO Brian Cornell told USA Today that the days running up to Christmas are some of its busiest not just for gifts, but also for Christmas decor and products for entertaining. The newspaper notes Target's same-day curbside pickup will be available until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

The Star Tribune reports Minnesota's stores have been pushing ahead with last-minute marketing, pricing and staffing strategies, noting that there are plenty of Christmas bargains out there for late shoppers.

The newspaper notes that a lot of this could come in clothing, particularly in winter wear, which has been selling poorly because of the mild winter the state and the country in general the country is experiencing.

It's a stressful time for workers too, as they attempt to cope with the Christmas crowds.

"We want everyone to be on their best game from monitoring stock like crazy to making sure the gift wrap line doesn't get too backed up," Roberta Bonoff, of Twin Cities toy chain Creative Kidstuff told the Star Tribune.

Why are people leaving it so late?

Citing research by the National Retail Federation, the Brainerd Dispatch says the fact 90 percent of people still have shopping to do isn't necessarily down to procrastination – many of them haven't figured out what to buy yet.

The NRF found 44.8 percent of shoppers are "still weighing their choices between gifts," while 28.8 percent said they wait till mid-to-late December because their family and friends haven't given them enough ideas on what to get them.

Only about one in five shoppers admit to being procrastinators.

While it may be "Super" in the U.S., the UK has dubbed today "Panic Saturday" – which The Guardian says describes not only the anxiety of last-minute shoppers, but also desperate retailers slashing their prices to boost their Holiday trading.

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