Last weekend before Christmas a big one for retailers

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Three days before Christmas and Westfield Franklin Park Mall was packed on Saturday.

Retailers expect the final hours of shopping will be crucial.

Mall officials say they're not trending too far behind in sales compared to last year at this time.

December got off to a slow start after a strong Black Friday.

But contrary to popular belief, officials say Black Friday is not the busiest shopping day of the year.

It's always the Saturday before Christmas.

The calendar this year is in their favor.

"We have an extra weekend in December this year before Christmas. Last year, today would have been Christmas Eve. So people adjust their shopping to when Christmas falls within the month," said Julie Heigel of Westfield Franklin Park.

A Consumer Reports survey says two thirds of Americans - that's 132 million people - haven't finished their holiday shopping.

Fourteen percent have yet to start buying at all.

Last minute shoppers at Franklin Park make it sound as though they've got money to burn.

"Yes. I got a better job this year," said Judy Parmalee.

"A lot of bargains out there. Lots of nice deals and sales," added Mary Cronwell

At J. Foster Jewelers, they're finding people are in the buying mood.

That, despite reports folks will back off holiday spending because of Washington's politically charged, potential fiscal cliff.

"They're normal working people like everybody else. Not going to affect them one way or another. Cheap gas is more important. Thousand new jobs as Chrysler more important," said Phil Kajca of J. Foster Jewelers.

And it's important to retailers the procrastinators mad mall dash continues.

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