Last-minute shoppers navigated long lines over the final pre-Christmas weekend, nudging retailers toward the modest growth in sales they’d expected. Deep discounts cut into profits, but retailers like Macy's and Kmart stayed open around the clock to accommodate shoppers, the Wall Street Journal reports. “The procrastinators finally got out there,” one consultant said.
Rising energy costs and lagging home sales made shoppers cautious this season, and many delayed buying to take advantage of huge markdowns. A Best Buy spokesman said the electronics retailer stocked shelves in anticipation of a late surge, as "customers are shopping later and later each year." He predicted a “strong finish.” A trade group projected a 4% growth in sales, the smallest in five years.