Last-minute holiday shopping becomes a battle for consumers

TYSONS CORNER, Va. (WJLA) - The battle begins even before you get inside. Traffic and parking are a test of patience and maneuverability, but once indoors, it becomes a game of efficiency and focus.

"We're feeling good -- in fact, we just made our last stop,” said Patricia Hickey, the General of the Hickey Family Army. She leads sons Jim and Joe and husband John on a mission buying Christmas gifts for their extended family.

Her key to keeping the boys in line?

"Feed them," she says. "Have to have them fed. If they're happy and had enough to eat, they're great."

While business was brisk at Tysons Corner on Monday, Forbes is estimating that holiday sales this season may be weaker than retailers hoped for; bad weather across the country, combined with one less shopping weekend thanks to a late Thanksgiving, have been factors leading to promotions and sales across the board.

Meanwhile, in Old Town, Alexandria, plenty of shoppers prefer the smaller, independent stores this time of year. At Red Barn Mercantile on King Street, owner Amy Rutherford says sales are up nearly 15-percent from last year.

Here, Christmas came early and hung around all month.

"We've actually had a really good season, so I'm happy beyond belief," she says.