Retailers roll out late-night Christmas Eve Shopping

If you haven't even started your holiday shopping, don't despair. This year, some of the country's biggest retailers are keeping their doors open late on Christmas Eve.

While some traditionalists might balk at the idea of shopping close to midnight on Christmas Eve, retailers are banking on the fact that consumers will still need to stock up on last-minute presents. Walmart (WMT), the country's biggest retailer, will keep its doors open until 8 p.m., while rival Target (TGT) will welcome shoppers until 11 p.m. on Dec. 24.

With competition for consumers' wallets tougher than ever, retailers are relying on a combination of discounts and special hours to lure people through their doors. Shopping is increasingly shifting to online retailers such as Amazon (AMZN), with Adobe Systems (ADBE) finding that Cyber Monday spending was 3.2 percent higher than forecasted.

Indeed, some are even predicting that bricks-and-mortar retailers may start opening their doors on Christmas Day within three years, thanks to Americans' desire to get a head start on post-holiday sales and returns.

Target, for one, is responding to this year's cutthroat competition by slashing prices. Its toys were priced 1.3 percent lower than Walmart's and 5.2 percent below Amazon's on Black Friday, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

More than 9 out of 10 Americans have resorted to last-minute holiday shopping, often because they were busy earlier in the month or couldn't figure out what to get their friends or family, according to retail coupon site RetailMeNot.

Six out of 10 of those down-to-the wire shoppers prefer to shop in stores rather than online because of the risk of having a late delivery, RetailMeNot said. Of course, if you're waiting until Christmas Eve to stock up on gifts, you're probably too late for anything but in-store shopping or to use online ordering with in-store pickup.

If you fall into that category, you'll still have shopping options available as late as 11 p.m. on Dec. 24. To check on hours, consumers can use a shopping app from RetailMeNot that provides info on whether a local store is open or closed.

Here are the Christmas Eve shopping hours for five of the country's top retailers.

Walmart: The largest U.S. retailer will keep its namesake stores open until 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve, while its Neighborhood Markets stores will remain open until 6 p.m. For in-store pickup, customers can order as late as 6 p.m. on Dec. 23, the company said. Online delivery orders need to be placed by Dec. 22 for rush deliveries.

Target: Its stores will stay open until either 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve. For shoppers who want to get an early start on returns or sales, Target locations will open at 7 a.m. on Dec. 26. Customers can expect free shipping with delivery before Christmas if they place online orders before 11:59 p.m. PT on Dec. 21.

Best Buy: The electronics retailer will close at 6 p.m. on Dec. 24, but it will have extended hours in the days leading up to Christmas Eve. Locations will be open until 11 p.m. on Dec. 21, 22, and 23. Online shoppers can expect free two-day shipping if they order by 10:30 a.m. CT on Dec. 22.

Kohl's: It's pulling not just one all-nighter, but several. The retailer will remain open for 170 hours straight before closing at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. So, if you want to buy that special someone flannel PJs at 2 a.m. on Dec. 23, Kohl's will oblige. The retailer says online orders placed by 1 p.m. CT on Dec. 22 will be delivered by Christmas Eve, as long as customers pick one-day shipping.

Toys 'R' Us: The company's stores will remain open for 87 hours straight starting at 6 a.m. on Dec. 21. That means locations will close at 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve. The company is offering free shipping for online orders of $19 and above until 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 19. Online shoppers can also order as late as 4 p.m. local time on Christmas Eve as long as they can pick up in-store before 9 p.m. that day.

© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.
Share this article: