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Long Island families brave last-minute holiday shopping

Shopping the day before Christmas Eve brought bargains for some, and long shopping trips for others

Shoppers wait to enter the Ugg store at

Shoppers wait to enter the Ugg store at Tanger Outlet in Deer Park on Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017. Photo Credit: David L. Pokress

Several families who waited until the day before Christmas Eve to buy presents revealed love transcended differences of opinion about buying online and how long to spend at the mall.

Deer Park’s Tanger Outlets mall drew last-minute shoppers, who braved the chilly rain and competed for parking spots Saturday to grab holiday deals.

Waiting until just two days before Christmas to find presents might seem perilous, as popular items, styles and sizes can sell out. Yet several shoppers said their patience often wins them exceptional bargains.

That has turned holding off — and long shopping trips — into a bit of a family tradition for some.

“We’ve been here longer than I anticipated; we were supposed to be finished by 10:30 a.m.,” said Edward Campbell of Brooklyn midafternoon Saturday.

Campbell, who had arrived with his family at 9:15 a.m., was sitting on a bench with his daughter, Jade, 16. They were waiting for his wife, who still had purchases to make. Campbell estimated 15 packages had already been stowed in their car.

“They just like to buy things,” he said patiently.

A payment technology firm agreed; consumers are buoyant, and holiday purchases are surging. Retail spending, which excludes grocery stores, restaurants, auto parts merchants and gas stations, rose 6.6 percent between Nov. 1 and Monday compared to the same period in 2016, more than the 2 percent increase recorded last year, according to First Data, which analyzes online and in-store payments for 1.3 million merchants.

Cooler weather, rising consumer confidence and low unemployment are enticing shoppers to spend, experts say.

Online sales growth continues to outpace brick-and-mortar growth, at 11 percent compared with 5.4 percent for stores.

But an informal survey of shoppers at the outdoor outlet center Saturday revealed a clash between the sexes when it comes to buying online versus in-store.

Tommy Vassell, 46, of Rosedale, who was shopping with his wife, Neisha, 47, was one of a number of men who said online purchases were too much of a hassle because they often had to be returned.

Vassell said he has had too many experiences of “Hey, wait, that’s not what I ordered.”

So had Rich Williamson, 52, of Farmingdale, who must be sure items fit.

“If I don’t touch it, I don’t buy it,” he said.

Yet his wife, who preferred not to be named, agreed with some of the other female shoppers who incline toward buying online.

Still, the Williamsons pointed out their son, Brett, 16, got the Timberland boots he wanted because they cost so much less at the outlet store than online.

The outlet center shoppers also did not appear to believe Saturday’s rain heralded a snowless winter; the shop selling UGG boots had one of the longest lines.

With AP

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