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Pandemic or not, last-minute holiday shopping remains Utah tradition

Posted at 4:07 PM, Dec 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-24 20:04:59-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Shoppers headed to City Creek mall in Salt Lake City today to get last-minute gifts for their loved ones just ahead of Christmas day.

FOX 13 spoke with a few shoppers who said holiday procrastination, as well as wanting to get into the holiday spirit is what brought them to the mall Thursday.

"It feels more like Christmas to come out and see the decorations and see the people," said Tom Macaluso. "It's been a nice experience and I normally don't enjoy going to the mall during Christmas."

"I guess we enjoy the kind of chaos of the last-minute deals," said Kathryn Durnford. "I think there's just something traditional about coming on Christmas eve to go shopping with everyone else."

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City Creek's general manager, Linda Wardell, said the pandemic has really reshaped how shoppers are thinking about spending their money this holiday season.

"I would say this year we have three pandemic inspired Christmas gifting trends that we're seeing," Wardell said.

With the money saved from not going out, Wardell said shoppers are spending more money on big ticket purchases this year.

"Luxury handbags, high end jewelry," she added." "These are really super luxury purchases that have been very popular."

She said the big focus this year has been how to stay comfy, and entertained, while stuck at home during the pandemic.

"Maybe new home accessories, or maybe even a jigsaw puzzle," Wardell said. "Something they can do while they're at home with their families."

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The pandemic hasn't just impacted buying trends, but also just how many people are shopping in person on a daily basis.

"Our traffic has definitely changed," Wardell added. "Our traffic is lighter than normal this year."

Roolee, a locally owned businesses based out of Logan, said their City Creek location has managed to make the most out of the decrease in customers.

"Business has definitely slowed down for us since our grand opening," said Nicolle Valencia, manager of the City Creek store. "But we have still managed to thrive during these times."

Valencia attributed the success to their loyal brand following, as well as the health protocols they have in place that help shoppers feel safe.

"Right now we have a 20 [person] max capacity, and that's with our employees in the store," she added. "And then just the masks required."

Despite the decrease in foot traffic, Wardell said City Creek is happy their shoppers feel safe to come spend money in-person during this holiday season.