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Retailers Hope for Last-Minute Shopping; Kmart Stores Open 24 Hours

Aired December 22, 2000 - 1:08 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, after a lackluster season so far, many retailers are hopeful for a busy weekend of last-minute shopping. Kmart stores are open 24 hours a day.

And CNN's Brian Cabell is at a Kmart in Atlanta.

But Brian, you forgot to pick up my list from me before you got there.

BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'll get it tomorrow for you.

Eighty-six hours of shopping straight is what they're offering here at Kmart. They started yesterday morning at 6:00 a.m.; they'll finish up about 8:00 p.m. on Christmas eve.

The reason for this, of course, is that, frankly, sales have not been as good as they or most retailers across the nation would like. They were hoping for maybe a two to four percent increase here this Christmas season. They're saying so far, they're falling just a little bit short of last year.

But hoping with 86 straight hours of shopping -- 2:00 in the morning, if you like -- they might be able to pick up that deficit and perhaps get a boost over last year.

With us right now, Allen Johnson (ph) -- he is the manager of this particular Big K.

Twenty-four hours -- last night, were people out here at 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they were, we had, really, kind of a better-than-expected attendance with customers between midnight and about 5:00 a.m.

CABELL: Who are these people? Are these people that just have strange working hours?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a little bit of everybody. I think the inclement weather has also helped initiate the people to come out and shop in these additional hours, because of the weather clearing up, and being open for these additional hours that we would not ordinarily be open. CABELL: What are the hot items this year? What can you not hold on to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the hottest items right now is the Sony Play Station 2, which just came out. And that went in 15 minutes -- we had probably 20 units, and that went in about 15 minutes. The Kmart bluelight.com computer is an outstanding item this year -- which is a Kmart personal computer which comes with the monitor, the tower and the printer.

CABELL: This sounds like a commercial.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Almost -- and...

CABELL: What else do you have?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have, of course, bicycles, we have our V- Tech (ph) -- electronic games are hot items for the children this year. We also have the Barbie cash register, which is a great item -- many items through the entire store, but those are some of the high- tech and the electronic items: the DVDs, some of the hot movies that have came out -- "Big Momma's House," "Shaft" and some others.

CABELL: And all those items are available right now, right at your local Kmart, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Except the ones that are the hot items that are gone.

CABELL: OK, thank you very much, Mr. Johnson.

Should tell that economists are telling us that consumer confidence is down this year. That's why they suspect that maybe Christmas buying may be down ever so slightly this year. But again, we have this last weekend, where retailers are hoping to make up that deficit.

I'm Brian Cabell, CNN, live in Atlanta.

ALLEN: All right, Brian, thanks.

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