Shoppers battle snow at malls - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Shoppers battle snow at malls

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -- This winter storm comes at a bad time for shoppers.

The last Saturday before Christmas is typically the busiest shopping day of the year as people look for last minute gifts.

Those last minute shoppers will contend with snow and ice.

All day Friday, shoppers at College Square Mall in Cedar Falls have had to drive around these snow piles in the parking lot. Overnight, crews will clear them away, put them on the other side of the mall so these parking spaces can be clear for what is the biggest shopping day of the year.

Pat Wrage is just one shopper looking for the right gift on the final weekend before christmas.

He's gonna have to brave the crowds.

"I'm getting a little bit nervous on that because I'm thinking with sporting events being rescheduled. I'm gonna have some days where I can't get out where I thought I was," said Wrage.

Retailers are hoping for strong sales this weekend.

They say so far, the soft economy hasn't slowed down the shoppers.

"We're excited. We're anticipating a lot of folks coming out to visit us and take advantage of the last-minute shopping they can get in prior to christmas," said College Square Mall General Manager Jeremy Larsen.

Larsen says snowstorms mean more business from local shoppers.

Those who have to drive may be more apt to stay home.

Shoppers we found said the snow did alter their plans.

"We were going to go today my husband and I when they were at school so we had to wait till tonight and bring them along," said Judy Vauthier.

"We went out today because we didn't have school today so thought it'd be easy today. Did you find what you were looking for? Sort of," said Kayla Koonce.

While the crowds are steady here in Cedar Falls, whether they come back this weekend and spend a lot of money is still in question, it may depend on mother nature.

While these larger snowpiles will remain in the back of the college square mall parking lot for the rest of the winter, new snow piles may form on Saturday.

That's because more snow is in the forecast.

Why might you see a big crowd at the mall regardless of this weekend's weather?

Earlier this week, the National Retail Federation said 41 million Americans haven't started their gift purchases.

Online Reporter:  Bob Waters

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