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Opportunities abound for late-night shopping

Stores always stay open longer in the days leading up to Christmas, but in recent years some retailers have taken extended hours to an extreme level in an effort to wring more dollars out of American consumers.

Want to go shopping in the middle of the night? Macy’s will welcome you from 7 a.m. until 2 a.m. today. Rival Kohl’s is staying open 24/7 until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Christmas Eve. Toys R Us will be open continuously until 9 p.m. Tuesday.

The long hours at the end of the shopping season this year echo those at the start, when an unprecedented number of retailers opened on Thanksgiving itself rather than waiting for the traditional Black Friday kickoff for the American shopping extravaganza.

This year, analysts say, the last-minute stakes are particularly high. The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas was unusually brief, and sales so far have been ho-hum. Retailers are counting on the final days.

Not everyone is participating, however. Nordstrom, for instance, will be open only until a relatively civilized 10 p.m. today. And for now anyway, Christmas remains largely off-limits, with nearly all stores closed.

– Mary Lynne Vellinga

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