More Retail Chains Cater To Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers

fromWUWM

Santa's elves will be working overtime starting Friday. Stores like Toys R US and Kohl's are hoping to capitalize on last-minute shoppers, and those who like to avoid the crowds by staying open 24/7.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK. If you do Christmas shopping, time is running out. But starting today, Kohl's department stores want to help take some of the pressure off. For the first time ever, nearly all the retailers - more than 1,100 stores - will remain open 24 hours a day - 24 hours a day - five days straight. And this is a thing.

LaToya Dennis of member station WUWM reports.

LATOYA DENNIS, BYLINE: If you're a last-minute shopper, you already the drill. One: circle the parking lot, hoping to find a spot. Two: avoid crashing into people in aisles cluttered with Christmas displays. Three: try to be patient - that is, unless you find a time to shop when others aren't there.

ABBY BUDDA: I'm usually up at about 5:30 in the morning anyways, so 3 o'clock wouldn't be that bad. With half a pot of coffee, you can accomplish just about anything.

(LAUGHTER)

DENNIS: That's Abby Budda, who works at a convenience store in downtown Milwaukee. She says her goal is to always avoid crowds.

And this weekend, she's in luck, because starting today Kohl's will open for 100 straight hours. Toy's 'R' Us will follow suit, staying open for 87 consecutive hours.

Kathy Grannis is with the National Retail Federation. She says the trick is getting shoppers to choose one store over the other.

KATHY GRANNIS: The economy in recent years has actually really shifted how companies look to compete for customer dollars. And the move to stay open and offer these extra store hours really is in direct response to this kind of competitive market.

DENNIS: For some stores, the around-the-clock holiday shopping gimmick started about three years ago. But there's one retailer that tries to never close its doors: LL Bean's flagship store in Maine is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

For NPR News, I'm LaToya Dennis, in Milwaukee.

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