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Last-minute shoppers storm malls on Christmas Eve


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Shoppers stormed malls across the country Thursday to get in some last-minute shopping just hours before Christmas morning.

Men overwhelmingly outnumbered women at Utah's Fashion Place Mall. Paul Flynn was one of them. He says he had a good reason for waiting until the last minute to do his shopping.

"My fiancée actually works in this mall," he says. "I didn't have the opportunity before today to come out and shop for her."

Many of the stores put out signs to lure shoppers in with special Christmas Eve sales and deals.

"To be honest, it does look like there are some great deals out there, but I kind of in my mind already picked out the items so I just kind of go in and leave," says Flynn.

Retailers count on the procrastinators to boost Christmas sales. But huge crowds can cause big headaches for shoppers, so why do people put it off?

"I think it could be a couple of different things," says Flynn. "Either work schedules -- a lot of people don't have time off -- or you know you just keep putting it off and then all of a sudden it's Christmas Eve and you're like, ‘wow I need to get stuff now.'"

The final report on the holiday shopping season isn't in quite yet. The week after Christmas accounts for about 15 percent of sales, thanks to shoppers returning to the stores with gift cards.

After-Christmas sales could get a boost from shoppers who may be holding out for better discounts. This year, pre-Christmas discounts ranged from 50 to 60 percent compared to last year's 80 to 90 percent.

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Story compiled with contributions from Jennifer Stagg and .

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