Britt Beemer

The holiday shopping season is about to wrap up, but retailers aren't ready to put a bow on it. Not just yet.

With two days left to grab last-minute gifts, stores are hoping to make up for what many of them say has been a moderate season at best.

To do it, they are extending hours and, in some cases, staying open around the clock. They are slashing prices today and Monday. They are giving gift cards and store cash with purchases.

"After Black Friday weekend, everybody hibernated," said Britt Beemer

Consumer spending in January promises to be flat or up only slightly as a result of several factors that raise concern about economic recovery anytime soon, according to the findings of the latest Consumer Mind Reader survey by America's Research Group (ARG) and UBS.

Tough economic times have driven more American families to lower the dollar value of what they define as a "major purchase" from $500 or more to the low range of $250 to $350.

Retail industry researcher Britt Beemer added a dash of optimism to what had been a downbeat Christmas retail forecast after a strong performance by Wal-Mart over the Dec. 13–14 weekend.

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