Shoppers stage weekend rush

As thousands of people streamed in and out of the Augusta Mall on Saturday afternoon to complete their holiday purchases, Tina Pinson was just getting started.


Accompanied by her mother and a good friend, Ms. Pinson and her family said they had saved most of their buying for the last weekend before Christmas.

"We're last-minute shoppers," she said.

More people are buying presents later this year, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Retail Federation. Just 46.7 percent of people had completed their holiday shopping after the first two weeks in December -- the lowest percentage in five years.

About 19 percent of people were like Ms. Pinson and hadn't even begun their shopping.

In Augusta, some said they were trying to wait for better deals as stores tried to unload inventory, while others said they just simply hadn't had the time to shop earlier.

The Augusta Mall parking lot was a maze of cars weaving in and out looking for spaces Saturday. Many resorted to makeshift parking spots on the grass, and Richmond County sheriff's deputies directed traffic.

Jeff Johnson, of Washington, Ga., was shopping with his wife and son Saturday, trying to complete some last purchases. He said the family fits in shopping during the holidays whenever it has time.

He said he thinks prices at the mall often are higher than other shopping outlets but added that the large selection makes it easier to find some items.

"Sometimes in a small town you can't get everything, so you have to come here," Mr. Johnson said.

Most people in the federation's survey who still had purchases to make planned to buy their last gifts Saturday, but about 12 percent planned to buy their last presents Christmas Eve.

The federation also predicted that discount and department stores would see the heaviest traffic from last-minute shoppers. The federation also forecast more people will buy groceries as holiday gifts.

Reach Erin Zureick at (706) 823-3217 or


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