(AP) - Last-minute shoppers crowded into malls and stores during the last weekend before Christmas, but many didn't seem to be in the spirit of spending.
This holiday season, Americans have a lot on their minds: the Superstorm Sandy cleanup in November in the Northeast, the recent Newtown, Conn., school shooting and the fast approaching "fiscal cliff" deadline. They have resulted in a muted approach to holiday shopping - bad news for retailers, which can make up to 40 percent of annual sales during November and December and are counting on the last weekend before Christmas for last-minute sales. ShopperTrak has cut its forecast for holiday spending down to 2.5 percent growth.
To entice shoppers, retailers large and small have expanded hours and stepped up promotions. Some are staying open around the clock, and others are adding additional price cuts to already discounted merchandise. Toys R Us will be open non-stop until 10 p.m. Dec. 24.
Teen store Aeropostale has cut prices 60%. Children's Place, a kids clothing chain, is offering up to 75 percent off on its website. Clothing stores such as Ann Taylor, J. Jill, Talbots, and J. Crew are also having sales.