NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The countdown to Christmas is on, and it’s down to the wire for last-minute shoppers across the Tri-State.
But luckily, there were still plenty of stores open and ready for business Saturday.
CBS2’s Dave Carlin found business after business with marked down merchandise.
“I cannot find anything I’m looking for,” Adrianna Morris, of Elmhurst, Queens, told Carlin at Queens Center Mall. She said she started shopping only “like 10 minutes ago.”
Amadlyn Martinez had 12 people to shop for, but said she had a lot of practice getting it done under pressure.
“I always leave things for the last minute and then I have to go crazy and get everything all at once,” she said.
Victoria Paterson, of Midtown, and her 10-year-old son, Dylan, opted to avoid the mall crowds and shop in small local boutiques.
“We’re glad they’re open today for sure,” she said. “Dylan and I got a sickness, we got sick, last week so we’ve been under the weather.”
Merchants said business was good and the National Retail Federation confirmed the season looks strong. At the start of the holiday season, the organization predicted a 3.6 percent increase in sales tax over last year, now it says the buying will be even stronger than that.
Many of the stores that stayed open Saturday had reduced holiday hours and planned to close around dinner time. As it gets later, that’s when the panic sets in.
“They’re desperate and they’re running around like a chicken, but we find stuff for them,” Gary Kirsch, the manager of Delphinium Home, said.
Earlier in the day, the meat and cheese markets at Arthur Avenue in the Bronx were also packed to the brim with shoppers determined to buy the freshest ingredients for their holiday feasts, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported.
“We’ve been doing it for 30 years, it’s a way of life,” Scott Crane said.
Shop owners at the Christmas market in Union Square said customers will keep shopping up until closing time.
“People will buy anything,” one shop owner told 1010 WINS’ Steve Kastenbaum. “It’s going to be swarming.”
The aisles at Macy’s on 34th Street were as packed as the sidewalks in Times Square, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported.
While some enjoyed the spectacle, others weren’t as pleased with the crowds.
“I love it, it’s all part of the fun,” one shopper said. “It’s happiness, people look happy, celebrating things — it’s great.”
“It’s too crowded for us,” a window shopper from France, said.
And the shopping never ends. Monday, the day after Christmas, is also known as “Returns Day” and can be as busy as Black Friday for some stores.
“Actually the reason why I waited is because I am a grandma babysitting and I’m also a full time worker,” Victoria Esteves, of Garden City, said. “I leave everything for the last minute and I am planning to come back on Monday.”
Some stores hope gift returners don’t just exchange their gifts, but also buy more — so extra sales are often advertised.
“It is always a great time for a retailer to get those sales out there, after Christmas sales, and its a great time for a shopper to get the best bargains possible,” retail analyst Danielle Conte said.
And if you’re really in a crunch, there are select FedEx locations that offer same-day shipping through Christmas Day.
Click here for more information on holiday shipping options.