Bay Area shoppers flock, fill shopping malls
PLEASATON, Calif. (KTVU) - The last minute rush is on with just days of shopping before Christmas.
The Nation Retail Federation says 53 percent of consumers will be hitting the stores Saturday.
Stoneridge Shopping Center in Pleasanton is among the many Bay Area malls offering extended hours on Saturday night.
Experts are predicting a gangbuster weekend for retailers with Christmas falling on a Monday. On Friday night, business was brisk as retailers and shoppers brace for the home stretch.
"I just started. I've done 10 percent," said Teisa Tuioti of San Ramon.
She and others tell KTVU they'll be back in stores this weekend. The National Retail Federation refers to the last Saturday before Christmas as "Super Saturday."
"There's hardly any parking available. There's people everywhere and they're carrying bags. That's the difference. They're not just looking around now," says Betsy Edwards,
One retail analyst says now is the time to buy especially if the item is on sale because retailers are carrying smaller inventories. While the discounts may be greater after Christmas, many items may no longer be available.
"We came here for her to buy me a gift, but we also came for maybe two other gifts," said John Scott of Pleasanton, as he showed off the ring his girlfriend is buying for him.
Retail experts say items such as jewelry, fragrances and gift cards will sell well in the final
days leading up to Christmas.
While many people are buying online, having a full weekend to shop before Christmas helps brick and mortar stores.
"I would love to meet them here in person versus shopping online," said Wendy Shulte, owner of Good Common Sense Naturals at Stoneridge.
She started her spa and skincare products business online two years ago. And then last summer she opened up her first retail store.
Shulte now operates both and says they do equally well.
"The idea of being able to smell, try and feel is a big difference than buying online," said Shulte.
She says with Christmas just days away, most customers do not want to pay more for overnight shipping.
For some shoppers, the last minute rush is part of the festivities.
"I'm one of those guys that enjoys this, being around people, the chaos, the fun of it. I'd rather do this than shop online," said Villanueva.
One retail analyst describes this holiday season as being phenomenal for retailers. Experts predict it'll be the best since 2010.