Stores offer last-minute deals as season nears its final days

For serious holiday shopping procrastinators, drugstores and convenience stores are offering last-minute deals. Even better for the desperate, many of them will still be open at, say, 3 a.m. Dec. 25. The last-minute rush tends to make these stores busier than they are the rest of the season.

"Like every Christmas season, our performance is driven by the final days, which makes this a big week," said Walgreen Co. CEO Greg Wasson on a conference call with investors Monday. "It could be more important this year as more consumers delayed the holiday shopping to the last minute."

Many Walgreens locations will be open until midnight Christmas Eve. Nearly 1,600 24-hour locations will be open all night. On Christmas Day, non-24-hour locations will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The drugstore has tech gifts such as a Kodak Digital Camera for $69.99 and Disney products, remote-controlled toys and games.

7-Eleven, open 24 hours, has items such as prepaid cell phones, including a Verizon Smooth u350 phone for $19.99 that features a camera, Bluetooth and Verizon service, DVDs, wine, cookies and gift cards such as iTunes cards. 7-Eleven said already, gift-card sales are up in the high double-digits, the most popular being the 7-Eleven card, a prepaid Visa card and iTunes gift cards.

For fans of online role-playing games, 7-Eleven also has increased its selection of multiplayer online game gift cards, which let players buy play time or items in online games.

For those who don't want to brave the stores, there's still time to order gift cards online and send them electronically, though even those have a cutoff.

For those who want to put off shopping even longer, J.C. Penney and Walmart Stores already have announced post-Christmas deals.

J.C. Penney will open at 5 a.m. Dec. 26, the earliest it has ever opened that day. More than 100 items will be on sale until 1 p.m. And the company will offer coupons such as $10 off a $50 purchase or $15 off a $75 purchase, good for use both online and in stores between Saturday and Monday. The department-store operator, based in Plano, Texas, will have all new merchandise in its teen department, because teens typically head to the mall after Christmas.

Walmart will offer deals each day from Saturday to New Year's Day. It will give out a $50 Walmart gift card with an Xbox 360 purchase, offer an eMachine netbook for $228 and offer some home holiday items and toys at up to 50 percent off. It also will extend previously announced holiday deals, including some Blu-ray movies for under $20.

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