Less than half of holiday shopping is finished

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With only a week until Christmas, market research by the NPD Group shows just 44 percent of this year's holiday shopping is finished. Wednesday, local store owners said they expect to see a very busy final week of shopping.

Shopper Gary Eichorn made several last-minute purchases at the Soap Box in the Village of East Davenport Wednesday evening.

"Most of the time, I'm ahead of the game, but this year I got just a little behind," he admitted.

The lag in purchases could be due to a shorter holiday shopping season this year. A late Thanksgiving has meant six fewer shopping days and only four, not five, weekends.

At Allard Jewelers, custom gift orders are still coming in.

"Tom's still building things, I've got a pile for the guys to pick up in the back. So, we're happy with the season," said Gail Allard.

ShopperTrak, though, predicts four of the 10 busiest shopping days will still fall between December 20 and Christmas Eve. Allard's even has extra employees coming to work this weekend for "Super Saturday" -- the second biggest shopping day to Black Friday.

"You know, guys historically are a little later shopping anyway... and they buy their wife's gifts," said Allard. "And with online banking, they kind of want to wait until the last minute, because the gifts will show up on their credit card and stuff."

The National Retail Federation expects overall holiday sales will increase only slightly this year, by about 4 percent.