Updated: Friday, 25 Dec 2009, 5:56 PM MST
Published : Friday, 25 Dec 2009, 1:10 AM MST
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Procrastinating shoppers packed Albuquerque malls and stores on
Christmas Eve giving retailers some hope that even better times are
Many last-minute buyers said they were surprised at the sale signs that seemed to pop up everywhere inside Cottonwood Mall in northwest Albuquerque late Thursday afternoon.
“I haven't had an opportunity to shop until today,” said Lupita Peña who was shopping for her entire family. "Kind of getting some better deals, and I'm able to get better stuff."
The size of the crowds even stunned some stores and managers like Erik Contreras, a veteran of 11 shopping seasons.
"I was definitely surprised by all the last-minute shoppers we had today,” said Erik Contreras, who manages the Express store at Cottonwood, told KRQE News 13. "The definitely showed up."
Contreras, a last-minute shopper himself, said his store was
unexpectedly busy all week and thinks that could be a sign the
economy is getting better.
"If there was anything to put and end to 'is the recession over, is it not over,’ I think today shows you we're on the right track," he said.
The mall closed at 6 p.m. while the Target store on Paseo Del Norte didn't close until 7.
That's where Michael DeAngelo was buying some final gifts as the lights turned out.
"I have some Legos and a bike for my little girl," he said. "She's been asking Santa for a bike all year. I'm happy Target is still open until 7."
Many shoppers told News 13 they had to wait until Christmas Eve for the same reason as DeAngelo: payday.
"I just got paid yesterday, so that had a lot to do with it," he said.
National retail reports differ on an outlook for the success of this year’s holiday shopping season.
One report predicts an increase of about 1 percent over last year’s sales. Another predicts a 1 percent decrease.
Other experts said the final outcome will depend on the sale of gift cards.