Last-minute shoppers finding great deals - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Last-minute shoppers finding great deals

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

Retailers are wrapping up a better-than-expected holiday shopping season. Americans are expected to have spent $469.1 billion between Black Friday and Christmas Eve. That's a 3.8% increase from 2010.

The last few days before Christmas generally make up one-fifth of total spending, and many Eastern Iowans were at the College Square Mall in Cedar Falls Saturday checking off their Christmas lists.

"I'm doing all my shopping today. I did some yesterday, but finishing it all up today," said Jenny Buchheit, shopping with her brother just before their family Christmas.

Some people have legitimate reasons for putting off the major gift-buying until Christmas Eve, others, not so much.

"Friday was my first day off for Christmas break, so that's when I started," said Jen Bantz.

When asked why he puts it off, Todd Winters said, "I always do. It's a guy thing."

Judging by the number of women running around, it's a gal thing too. But is it a smart thing?

Here are the arguments for shopping late.

A: fewer people.

"This way you're not battling 5,000 people going through stores. You're going in and out in half the time," said Buchheit.

B: you may actually find better deals.

"There's a lot of 50% off, a lot of the Christmas stuff is on sale," Bantz said.

"Oh yeah, they knock the prices down to move merchandise," said Buchheit's brother, Scott.

Many retailers are offering blanket deals -- 30 to 50 percent off everything in the store -- to boost last second sales. Shoppers say the shelves are not as bare as you might expect.

"You know, they're almost as good as the Black Friday deals. We were able to buy gifts for almost nothing. Things that we wanted too -- sizes, everything was there," said Buchheit.

Of course, the beauty of the bargain is lost on some.

"I don't really pay attention. I just go get stuff," Winters laughed.

Retailers are hoping all that "stuff" will add up to a profitable season. Shoppers, meanwhile, just want to get in, get out, and get on with their holiday celebrations.

"We're going to wrap, and then go have Christmas! So we're cutting it down to the last minute," Buchheit added.

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