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Last, Last-Minute Shoppers Swarm To Stores 2 Days Before Christmas

Holiday Sale

Many retailers are open 24 hours in the days before Christmas. (Credit: CBS)

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UPDATED 12/23/11 11:43 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Even at the early hour of 5 a.m. on the day before Christmas Eve, stores were open for business, and plenty of consumers were out shopping.

As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the parking lot was quite full at the Toys ‘R’ Us at Riverview Plaza, 3300 N. Western Ave. The store has been open nonstop since 6 a.m. Tuesday, and plans to remain open until 10 p.m. Saturday.

Nora Martinez came to the Toys ‘R’ Us before dawn simply because that was the only time her schedule permitted.

“I start work at 7, and I didn’t want to go after work. I know it’s going to be crazier after work than in the morning, so I just decided to come in the morning,” she said, adding that she still needs to buy “my nephew’s gifts – just little knick-knack stuff that I got. I got him something before; I’m just getting the other stuff now. I just got paid today.”

Stephanie Russell came out of the Toys ‘R’ Us with a cartload of merchandise.

Her mission was “last-minute shopping for my great niece and nephew, whose father’s hours got cut, and he didn’t have anything to give his kids, so I came at the last minute and I picked them up something so they can have a nice Christmas also.”

An employee at the Toys ‘R’ Us told CBS 2 many shoppers are waiting until now to get their Christmas presents – a trend that seemed to hold true across the Chicago area for shoppers.

By 11 a.m. Friday, shoppers were still out hunting for deals across the city, and for them, procrastination seemed to pay off.

At Sears on State Street, one man said he had found quite a few bargains.

“I bought a couple of necklaces today; a couple of rings also, and sweaters and scarves. I love shopping at the last minute,” he said. “I like the excitement of it; it kind of gets me in the spirit. And I’m finally off today also.”

The man was thoroughly surprised that the crowds at Sears were so big.

“I thought I was going to be the only one,” he said.

The man was taking a break before stopping for breakfast and moving to the Magnificent Mile. He said at Sears, the items he had considered buying last week were 20 to 30 percent cheaper this week.

“I’m actually finding better deals today than what I did at Black Friday,” he said.

A woman at Sears had been to multiple stores, but she wasn’t procrastinating, nor was she too busy to shop sooner.

“Chicago has its good sales at the last minute,” she said.

On Thursday night on State Street, the Lightscape light stalks displays were flashing their hues of deep and pastel blue to the notes of a solo piano rendition of the Carol of the Bells.

The Lightscape display made it was easy to get into the mood for holiday shopping on State Street, as did, most importantly, the great deals late into the night Thursday.

Several stores kept their doors open to get last minute holiday shoppers inside. Macy’s was among several stores that thought it was worth it to keep some of their locations open 24 hours until Christmas.

Some shoppers decided to go the online route, and for one retailer – Best Buy – cyber shoppers have run into some trouble.

Best Buy admits it dropped the ball. Apparently, the store did not order enough of its popular products, so their shipments will not arrive in time for Christmas for some online customers.

The affected customers reportedly have already been notified.