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Last-minute holiday shopping push

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 23 2013 09:32:20 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 23 2013 10:58:45 PM CST

We're just two days away from Christmas and bargain hunters are racing against the clock to find the best deals.

Holiday shopping sales are down for the third consecutive week, according to analyst.

But there was no sign of slow sales in Wyomissing Monday evening, where there was traffic gridlock and shoppers racing to the Berkshire Mall.

"Everyone is going this way and that, horns everywhere. I saw accidents this morning, not to mention the bad weather," said Nick Orlando, shopper.

Large retailers have no problem with last minute shopping.

In fact some larger stores are offering marathon hours to cash in on the last-minute procrastinators.

Kohl's will stay open until 6 on Christmas Eve; Toys 'R Us is open until 9 on Tuesday; and Target will stay open until 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Sales across the country dropped 3.1 percent compared to this week last year, according to ShopperTrak.

Proof of that could be seen in West Reading's shopping district, where around 5:00 p.m., Monday night, the sidewalks were virtually empty.

At the store Sweet Surprises, however, there was a last-minute rush of customers.

The owner says previous snow storms put a damper on sales, but she's hoping folks will still support her and other small businesses that are pulling out all the stops.

"We wrap for no charge. We'll carry it to the car. There's just so many personal touches that small businesses offer that the big box stores can't," said Jennifer Bednez, owner of Sweet Surprises.

Officials say a record number of shoppers are shopping online this year, but major storms in the Midwest could jeopardize shipping, even to regions in Berks County.