What retailers are doing to make a final push for shoppers in 2018

Local retailers are adding extra incentives to draw shoppers into stores as the countdown to Christmas runs down.

Despite the “Christmas crawl” - the trend that has moved a lot of sales earlier in the holiday season - shoppers still aren’t done finding gifts. Retailers across the Miami Valley will offer deep discounts in the next week when millions of shoppers hit the stores during four of the nation’s biggest shopping days of the year on Dec. 21, 22, 23 and 26, according to store traffic tracker ShopperTrak.

“There will be certain sales and different things to get people in the store, no doubt about it,” said Alex Boehnke, spokesman for the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants. “I think we’re going to finish strong here.”

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Mary Burns of Springboro was shopping at the Dayton Mall Thursday afternoon, and said she was finding deals as good as during Black Friday weekend in late November.

“I did previous shopping last month or so. I did some online shopping; I like in-store shopping because you get to see and touch the fabric or the objects. I came out today because I never think I have enough,” Burns said. “I just scan the store and pick up a few more items.”

Ken Latchney of Troy was shopping Christmas gifts for the first time this season Thursday, saying work had been too hectic earlier to get out shopping.

“Normally I try to plan ahead and try to take advantage of Black Friday as much as I can, but I didn’t do that this year,” he said.

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Latchney isn’t alone, with more than a third of shoppers still having some shopping to do. About 24 percent of holiday shoppers plan to purchase their final gifts today or Sunday, 7 percent said they’ll still be shopping through Christmas Eve and another 4 percent will head out after the Christmas holiday to buy their final gifts.

Many area stores have advertised major sales for upcoming Super Saturday, when 134 million shoppers will look for deals, up from 126 million last year.

The retailers have also increased their hours as the holiday approaches, including malls that are opening earlier and staying open later. Others like Kohl’s have announced that they won’t close during the night starting today, remaining open 83 consecutive hours.

Old Navy also made a new move this year to offer free Lyft rides to and from the stores where shoppers are picking up online orders.

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Many of the last-minute purchases will be in physical stores, which have struggled after consumer shopping habits shifted some sales online. But low unemployment and larger take-home pay for some shoppers have retailers encouraged.

“It’s going to help drive sales. The fact that people are out and about they’re going to spend money at other places…they’re going to eat and drink as well,” Boehnke said.

The sales tax spent in stores in the Miami Valley, rather than national online retailers, will also support the community as its later funneled toward infrastructure and transportation, said Chris Kershner of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Last-minute Christmas shopping is a good opportunity to shop local, he said.

“The folks that own these local retail establishment are neighbors in our community. These are the people that we sit next to at church, these are the people whose sons and daughters play on our sports teams…the money you spend with local retailers gets reinvested back into the community,” Kershner said.


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By the numbers

35: Percent of shoppers still need to buy gifts

134: Million people planning to shop today

4: Percent of people who will still be buying gifts after Christmas

4.3: Percent minimum increase in holiday sales NRF expects

$1,007: Average amount holiday shoppers will spend

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