Nightly News | December 16, 2011
>>> retailers have nine days left to eat up a lot of ground and conveniently shoppers have that same time remaining to cover a lot of ground before christmas . that's why this is going to be a busy and crowded weekend out there, starting with the mall parking lot . nbc's tom costello in reston, virginia, for us tonight. hey, tom, good evening.
>> reporter: hi, brian. we're at a great spot here because it includes an outdoor skating rink in the shomg area. you know the current sales slogan, nobody pays full retail anymore? a lot of people are taking that to heart. they're demanding big discounts both online and in the stores. retailers are desperate this weekend. they want to get shoppers in and merchandise out. if you thought the stores were packed over the thanksgiving weekend, and they were, then prepare yourself for tomorrow, on this last full weekend before christmas , some of the biggest retailers are slashing prices to lure in those shoppers who haven't yet finished, from the promenade in santa monica --
>> i haven't bought anything for anyone yet.
>> i don't have a strategy yet. i think when i get to the stores i'll figure it out.
>> reporter: to the magnificent mile in chicago.
>> anything over 50% i feel is a good deal especially like being a student, i need those sales.
>> reporter: while store sales soared at the weekend after thanksgiving, we have since suffered the biggest drop in 11 years, with americans struggling through a rough economy while still carrying high levels of debt, retail annist dana telsey is on a ten-city tour gauging holiday sales.
>> we found promotions drive traffic. on average the average promotion is around 40% off.
>> reporter: still since lower than expected sales since black friday, the national retail federation has actually raised its holiday shopping forecast, now expecting a 3.8% increase in sales over last year, but for that to happen, this weekend is critical. since the saturday before christmas falls on christmas eve this year, many retailers are calling tomorrow super saturday. in salt lake city , overstock.com was itself overstocked, and just auctioned off an entire warehouse for pennies on the dollar, and with consumer spending accounting for 70% of the economy, what happens in the next week is critical.
>> the stakes are huge, not only for retailers but for all businesses, it sets the tone for activity as we make our way into 2012 whether business also broadly go out and invest and hire and that's vital to the economic recovery.
>> reporter: vital to the economy he says. we talked to a lot of retailers, to target, to walmart, jcpenney, macys, abercrombie, the gap, you name it, many are talking about extended hours in the run-up to christmas , deep discounts and the sales to start big time tomorrow.
>> tom costello, going to slip in shopping if not skating while being able to say he's on assignment for us tonight, well done. tom, thanks.