Late holiday shopping officially has begun as malls and stores open earlier and close later and shipping deadlines loom.
Oak Park Mall kicks off its extended weekday shopping hours — 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.— starting Friday and is holding them in place through Dec. 22. Zona Rosa is staying open an hour later Friday, until 10 p.m., and adding an additional hour weekdays by opening at 9 a.m. starting Monday.
Still, shopping centers advise consumers to check individual store hours if they know exactly where they want to shop.
Summit Fair and Summit Woods Crossing, both in Lee’s Summit, each require stores in the open-air centers to keep their doors open at least during the malls’ extended holiday hours, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., said Katie McDonald with Red Development. Stores may open earlier and close later.
For those ready to shop ’til the midnight hour, McDonald said, anchors J.C. Penney and Macy’s each will be open that late Friday and Saturday, with J.C. Penney also open Sunday until midnight.
It could help, especially if this weekend’s weather makes shopping a bit more difficult.
Retailers mark this season as their most important days of the year. Shopping hours typically begin earlier and stretch later into the night in hopes of accommodating busy holiday schedules.
“We are looking forward to wrapping up another successful holiday shopping season as we approach the final week before Christmas,” McDonald said.
A 10 p.m. stop time is widely followed in area shopping centers, with Sunday exceptions, but it pays to check.
The Legends Outlets in Kansas City, Kan., lists official holiday hours from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Websites for the Target and J.C. Penney stores there show longer hours.
Christmas Eve, a Saturday this year, offers an even wider variation in hours, such as 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Independence Center and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Legends.
Gifts in hand, at last, shoppers will need to be alert to shipping deadlines to ensure Aunt Annie gets her fruitcake in time for Christmas.
Thursday was the last day the United States Postal Service said its retail ground delivery could get gifts where they are going by Christmas. But other options at the USPS and other services keep delivery options wide open.
Just remember that prices tend to increase as the holiday nears. For example, FedEx offers delivery on Dec. 24 on several shipping options, but there is an added $16 fee per package.
Friday is the last day Amazon free shipping will deliver by Christmas. Ditto for FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery.
After a weekend of shopping, shipping deadlines begin to stack up.
Tuesday: Last day to ship by regular First Class at the post office or FedEx Express Saver.
Wednesday: Last day to ship by USPS Priority Mail, UPS 2nd Day Air or FedEx 2Day options.
Dec. 22: Last day to ship by Amazon Two-Day, FedEx’s overnight options or UPS Next Day Air. UPS 2nd Day Air will work if you use the Saturday delivery option.
Dec. 23: Still shopping, eh? Last day for USPS Priority Mail Express Service or Amazon One-Day delivery. FedEx Same Day will deliver Dec. 24 for an extra $16. UPS Next Day Air also works if you use its Saturday delivery option.