Dec 24, 2010 10:45 AM by AP

Many stores open today for last-minute shoppers

NEW YORK (AP) - Whether last-minute shoppers have been too busy until now to Christmas shop, or their procrastination just provides an adrenaline rush, many stores will be open today to oblige them.

Today's Christmas Eve mad dash is expected to be the best holiday season for stores since 2007, and possibly the best ever. With Christmas falling on a Saturday this year, today is a holiday
for many U.S. workers.

Marshal Cohen, the chief fashion industry analyst with researcher NPD Group, calls it "Fantastic Friday." He says, "I really do think it's going to be one of the busiest days of the year."

A strong Christmas Eve would be a great holiday gift for retailers. The National Retail Federation says holiday sales could reach $451.5 billion this year, up 3.3 percent over last year. That would be the biggest year-over-year increase since 2006, and the largest total since sales hit a record $452.8 billion in 2007.

Some retailers are trying to stay open as late as they can today. Many Old Navy clothing stores will be open until 7 p.m.



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