Has last minute rush slowed down due to economy

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - This year shoppers say last minute shopping has less to do with procrastination and more with hesitation in light of economic uncertainty.

"It feels as if people have waited till later to shop. Maybe hoping for better sales," says Krista Toehay of Ocean Springs.

Workers at Harry and David, a gourmet foods store at Prime Outlets in Gulfport, say they haven't seen a major drop-off in the last minute rush for Christmas gifts.

Second Assistant Manager Buddy Paton says, "I think all the companies have adjusted to the economic situation.  I think we've really seen a good turn-out compared to what it could have been."

Like other stores, they've had to lure people in by promising to keep a lot more cash in their wallets.

"We changed up the box that we're known for, a five pound box (of pears) is usually $29.00.  We got them for $19.95 right now," says Paton.

Employees are also driving customers to other places hoping to expand profits.

"It's been a very big, big effort, catalogues in every bag and letting them know there is HarryDavid.com," says Paton.

Despite the push from retailers to get people spending, shoppers like Toehay say this year she's taking more time to think before she buys, as the countdown to Christmas winds down.

"We're trying to cutback a little bit just to be mindful of what's going on around us," Toehay says.