PORTLAND, Ore. ( TheStreet) -- With little more than two weeks until Christmas, you'd hope much of the shopping would be finished already.
Thanksgiving night, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are but memories. Online retail favorite Green Monday just passed and the only retail holiday left on the calendar is Free Shipping Day on Dec. 17. It may as well be Begging For Scraps day, as even the always-optimistic National Retail Federation says only 3.5% of Americans planned to still be shopping for Christmas presents this late in the season.
With the way this holiday season has unfolded so far, though, it wouldn't be too surprising to see shoppers still rushing around looking for deals. November was somewhat of a wash for retailers, with
all reporting drops in same-store sales despite Black Friday shopping. The 16 retailers tracked by
saw an overall 1.6% same-store sales increase, much lower than the 3.3% analysts had predicted.
The U.S. economy grew 2.7% in the third quarter, according to the Commerce Department, but household purchases increased a scant 1.4%. That's the slightest pace in more than a year and down from early estimates.
It's not like retailers have a lot of time to turn that around, either. Of the $35 billion in online sales last holiday season, less than $4 million was spent in the days following Free Shipping Day. The $2.8 billion made during Christmas week, though, was a bigger haul than stores made on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
We consulted with the folks at consumer pricing and ratings site
and found the best buys retailers are offering this late in the season. While stores usually don't get into a really charitable mood until the after-Christmas sales, discounts on the following five items help goose the numbers a bit: