UPDATED 12/24/10 7:30 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – It’s Christmas Eve, and thus, it’s your last chance to get up, get out and finish your last-minute holiday shopping.
But not to worry. If you’re among a group of procrastinators, several retailers are giving you a break with extended holiday hours.
As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, overall, this holiday shopping season is turning out to be much better than initially forecast for the nation’s retailers. According to the National Retail Federation, sales this year nationally should total about $451 billion dollars, up 3.3 percent compared to last year.
This year, since most people have Christmas Eve off because it falls on a Friday, the federation says a strong finish could put retailers making this year the best ever for total sales.
Many stores have chosen to remain open around the clock the last few days before Christmas. Toys ‘R’ Us, and select Old Navy and Macy’s stores, are among the stores remaining open overnight in order to cash in on last-minute shoppers.
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Three local Macy’s – at the Oakbrook Mall, Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, and Orland Square, have been open 24 hours since last week.
Several other retailers are staying open until midnight Christmas Eve night.
Puccinelli met some last-minute shoppers in the wee hours Friday downtown.
“I was in Old Navy a couple days ago, and the line was to the back, and I heard on the radio that they were open 24 hours, and I get up to go to the gym at 5 a.m., I said instead of going to the gym I’m going to come down here. There probably won’t be anybody,” one man said, “and I was right.”
Another man admitted that he hadn’t finished his shopping, despite working on Christmas Eve until noon.
“I’ve got do to my shopping as soon as I get off,” he said.
But not everyone out shopping this late is guilty of procrastinating.
“With my job schedule, this was the best time for us to get out to the store, so my wife and I were on our way home, and I said, ‘Macy’s is open, let’s go over there,’ so this worked out perfect,” said Leon Carlisle of Broadview, who was spotted in the wee hours in the Oakbrook Mall Macy’s.
“Twenty-four hours and we’ve got everything done, and we’re ready to start wrapping,” added his wife, Marie Carlisle.
Retailers say at the end of the day, they expect Christmas Eve to be one of the busiest shopping days of the year. It’s being called “Fantastic Friday” or “Black Friday II.”