Hope reigns for shoppers who wait

It’s almost Christmas Eve and if you haven’t finished your shopping yet, chances are stress is at the top of your list.

Not to worry, say local retailers. There’s still time to find those last-minute gifts for friends and family.

‘Most of the stores downtown are open late,’ said Mary Adam of Hobbies and Books. ‘That’s been the tradition. The downtown is bustling and busy on Christmas Eve. People are always last-minute shopping.’

Hobbies and Books in Piccadilly Centre downtown will be open until 10pm, along with the company’s two other stores, Books by the Bay and Discover Toys at the Shoppes at Grand Harbour.

All Kirk Freeport stores downtown will be open until 10pm, offering everything from fragrances and cosmetics to jewelry, crystal and china.

The major supermarkets continue their regular evening hours, with Kirk’s Supermarket and Hurley’s Marketplace at Grand Harbour open until 11pm and Foster’s Food Fair at the Airport Centre open until midnight.

‘With the Christmas rush, we wanted to give our customers an opportunity to do some late night shopping,’ said managing director Woody Foster,

Foster’s extended its hours the week before Christmas to accommodate holiday shoppers. Mr. Foster said the company is considering keeping those hours – 6am to midnight – on the weekends after the holiday season.

‘The early hours haven’t been great but the extra hour after 11pm has been busy.’

While it may frazzle nerves fighting the crowds the day before Christmas, procrastination can have its perks. Last-minute shoppers know the longer they wait, the more likely they’ll discover bargains.

And it’s not necessarily all picked-over stock, said Mrs. Adam.

A large shipment of stock that arrived this week replenished the shelves at her stores on Thursday including a container of fireworks.

‘People have choice right up to the end.’

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