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Malls packed with last-minute holiday shoppers

December 23, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Retailers are giving the gift of time to help holiday shopping procrastinators.

Many stores are expanding their hours. For instance, the Toys"R"Us store in Torrance has been open for 112 consecutive hours as of Friday morning and will stay open until 10 p.m. Christmas Eve.

Other major retailers, like Sears and K-Mart, are also opening their doors early for the rush.

"[It's] my day off, and I'm trying to get something for my daughter and wife," said last-minute shopper Roman Villegas of Granada Hills.

The big ticket item on Friday was Nike's new Air Jordan XI Retro Concord basketball shoes, which sell for about $180. They caused a big frenzy in malls across the country.

In Northern California, shopping turned dangerous when shots were fired by someone in line at a mall in Richmond. No one was hurt, but police made the mall stop selling the shoe for safety reasons.

In Indianapolis, Nike lovers pushed and shoved their way through the doors. One door even came off its hinges.

It wasn't as dramatic in Southern California, but police said it was intense as they tried to maintain order at the South Bay Galleria.

"The line actually turned into a crowd, and the people in the front of the line were getting pressed up against the doors. There was concern that maybe the doors might just bust through," said Lt. Paul Wrightsman of the Redondo Beach Police Department.

Meantime, economists say three years of tough economic sledding has created an enormous amount of pent-up demand across the country. That spells good news for retailers, who are enjoying record sales this holiday season.

Many shoppers are hoping to find even better deals as it gets closer to Christmas.

"We've already bought the Christmas presents. This is just, 'Oh it's on sale, we'll buy it,'" said Steve Horstman of Valley Village.

The National Retail Federation said sales nationwide have increased by nearly 4 percent. Holiday sales are expected to reach a whopping $469 billion this year.

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