ECONOMY

Christmas shopping…

Christmas shopping is in full swing with retailers hoping that the festive spirit will put consumers in a spending mood. Stores will be open this week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. until Thursday. On Friday, stores will close at 6 p.m. Extended trading hours will also continue next week with retailers returning to regular hours on January 4. Despite the winter sales season not starting until mid-January, a number of stores have cut prices in a bid to boost revenues. Retail groups say that sales have fallen by up to 40 percent so far this year as the economy enters its deepest recession in more than 40 years.