As the holidays — that’s Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa — approach, and we haven’t spent enough money for gifts, decor, party clothing and whatever else we need to celebrate properly, East Valley retailers are gearing up to accommodate the last-minute shopping frenzy.
Many stores are already opening before official shopping center hours. Beginning Saturday, mall owners will increase required opening hours for all stores, and the shops will increase discounts.
Westcor malls — Scottsdale Fashion Square, Paradise Valley Mall, Chandler Fashion Center, Fiesta Mall and Superstition Springs Center in Mesa — plan to open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Dec. 23, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 24.
Arizona Mills mall in Tempe will be open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Dec. 23, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 24.
Biltmore Fashion Park, 24th Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix, will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Dec. 23, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 24.
Kierland Commons, Scottsdale Road and Greenway Parkway in Phoenix, will be open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Dec. 24.
Sales of gift cards, favorites of the clueless and last-minute gift givers and those who hate to wrap presents, should gather steam as the big days loom.
This year you can buy the cards, which are expected to add up to 15 percent or more of all gift purchases this holiday season, at nearly every store, restaurant, airline or hotel. Even the spas.
But don’t fret even if the malls have already closed Dec. 24, and you suddenly realize you forgot mom who is coming for Christmas dinner. The always- open convenience stores have figured a way to earn their title.
Locally based chain Circle K has set up a virtual gift-card mall, selling cards for many popular retailers such as iTunes, AMC Theatres, American Express, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Bed Bath & Beyond, Blockbuster, Chili’s Restaurants, Foot Locker, Pizza Hut, Sears and lots more.
The long-awaited Gucci at Scottsdale Fashion Square is scheduled to open Friday.
At Superstition Springs Center, you can feast on Dippin Dots near the children’s play area or check out CandleLoft, near JC Penney. At Arizona Mills, Vogue Italy, a designer handbag store, opened between Saks outlet Off 5th and Neiman Marcus outlet Last Call. The Tempe mall opened Amuse, which sells accessories and makeup for young women, and As Seen on TV, which sells the products seen on infomercials.