Holiday Shopping

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Consumers are taking their time to finish up holiday shopping. And that's making some retailers nervous.

The holiday shopping season started off better than expected. But after a post-Thanksgiving lull, shoppers are returning to stores at a slower-than-expected pace.

Now stores are counting on last-minute shoppers to help them meet their sales goals. Some are bringing in eleventh-hour shipments of popular items to lure consumers.

Some experts say consumers are taking time to look for the best deals. And expanded hours and holiday deals have made it easier for shoppers to procrastinate.

Early reports of this past weekend were encouraging for stores. Mall analysts say traffic and sales have increased since last week.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)