Robbie Owens for CBS 11 News | CBSDFW.COMBy Robbie Owens

FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – With the countdown to Christmas coming fast, ‘desperation shopping’ is the sport of the day.  “Yes, definitely,” says Michael Hernandez, with his hands full of bags.  “Desperation shopping is kind of in full effect at this point.”

But, for once, economists say, it may pay to procrastinate.  With just four weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, retailers were already under pressure to move product.  Throw in a weekend  lost to bad weather and retailers will be looking to make up lost ground.

“They still have inventory in the store and they want to get rid of it before the holiday,” says Ed Fox, marketing professor and retail expert at SMU’s Cox School of Business.  He says bad weather encouraged shoppers to go online; but, brick and mortar stores are stocked with separate inventories and those products will be priced to move.  Adding to the pressure on retailers, recent figures from the Commerce Department show that retail sales were up 7/10ths of a percent year over year in November.  “That’s not the kind of growth that retailers were expecting. So they really needed to make it up in December and the weather set them back.”

And that could mean some good deals for last minute shoppers.

“A lot of the retailers have already started to mark down some of their prices,” says Martha Hinojosa, spokesperson for Galleria Dallas.  “So the closer we get to Christmas Eve and Christmas, you’ll see a lot of discounts and increased promotions in stores.”

Apparel and electronics are two categories likely to be priced to move.  But, don’t expect to find on this season’s ‘must have’ items.  They’re still selling well. But, if you’re looking for deals….

“This weekend in particular, you’re going to see very strong markdowns as retailers try to catch up with their plans and their expectations,” says Fox.

But, Julia Bristow says not even a good deal could lure her to the mall this weekend… she’s looking to wrap up her shopping early.

“It’s going to be bad!  It’s already bad,” says Bristow.  “If you go to any store—it’s like the parking lot is full.  You have to park across the street.  It’s nuts! Don’t get out unless you’re crazy!” she warns with a big laugh.

And some shoppers agree.

“I’d rather spend more money than have to deal with the crowds, to be honest,” says Hernandez.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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