Last minute shopping in full swing in southern AZ

Last minute shopping in full swing in southern AZ

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Last minute Christmas shopping is in full swing according to the National Retail Federation and will be right up to Christmas a week from today.

40 percent of all sales happen within the final ten days according to the report and that number may be higher this year given that Christmas falls on a Monday. It gives last minute procrastinators another reason to put it off a while longer.

It's estimated nearly one in five shoppers haven't even started yet, and according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, 76 percent of all shoppers will buy right up to Christmas Day.

In 2017, for the first time ever, more shoppers will buy online than in brick and mortar stores. But this opens an opportunity for those stores.

"What we do is a very big push on line to our social media channels," said Sheila Kessler Crowley, the marking director for Bookman's.

Because the closer it gets the Christmas, the more difficult it is to ensure packages and gifts will arrive on time, Crowley wants to remind shoppers that coming to the store is the best guarantee.

"Why not cut out the middle guy," she said. "Just come here and get it yourself and you're going to have it in hand and make sure the person you're giving it to has it."

Bookman's deals in books, used musical instruments and all kinds of unique, hard to find items. It competes with the internet for those things as gifts, but the closer it gets to Christmas, the more advantages Bookman's has.

"If you're waiting until Christmas to shop online, there's a good chance your gift is not going to come in the mail," she said. "That's a bummer."

Not only is this an important week for stores to profit from last minute shoppers, but also an important time for those stores to benefit from Mexican shoppers.

For many stores, especially outlet malls, a full 10 percent of their retail sales will come from shoppers who cross the border from Mexico.

"We're doing a lot of social media," said Felipe Garcia, Visit Tucson Vice President in charge of strategic marketing. "Social media is huge."

Garcia has been through the rough times when Mexican shoppers boycotted Tucson over anti-immigration legislation and more recently, the devaluation of the Mexican Peso against the American dollar.

But the dollar has retreated and the peso is now trading in more stable territory.

"People are shopping, not just looking," he said. "That's good."

2016 was not a good year for Mexican shoppers, but it appears by eyeballing the parking lots, although unscientific, this year may shape up to a return to normal.

"I spent some time in the Tucson Mall, Park Place Mall and the Spectrum Outlet walking around, looking at license plates," Garcia said. "And it was great."

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