Retailers try to lure holiday shoppers with last-minute bargains

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NEW YORK —Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the stores, prices were plummeting down through the floors.

“I feel like everything is expensive these days, but the fit bit we got was actually a pretty good deal,” said one last-minute shopper.

Even high-end retailers like Ralph Lauren and Macy’s have been offering steep holiday discounts.

Macy’s, for example, cut the price of a Michael Kors handbag from $368 to $220.  Ralph Lauren slashed the price of a pair of leather pants from $898 to $449.

“More than 40 percent of consumers are planning to spend more than what they budgeted this holiday season, and right now we are seeing that the average consumer spending is about $936,” said Ana Serafin Smith of the National Retail Federation.

According to Smith, retailers want to get rid of as much inventory as they can before the new year.

“These final days leading up to Christmas we are going to see a total of about 13 percent of consumers planning to hit the stores and purchase some of these last minute gifts,” she said.

And yet more Americans are shopping online this year than ever before. From Nov. 1 to Dec. 20, $79.2 billion was spent online, a 10.7 percent increase.

But all types of shopping will likely exceed expectations — an increase of more than 3.6 percent over last year.

Target is targeting shoppers with one-day-only sales. And starting Friday morning at 6 a.m., Toys-R-Us is keeping its stores open for 39 hours, luring customers with last-minute sales.

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