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Discount-Hunting Shoppers Threaten Stores’ Holiday Cheer

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Laura Pettee, a 45-year-old mother of four, would seem like an ideal customer for retail chains this holiday season.

She dropped $4,000 on Christmas gifts last year and plans to increase her spending this time around. But chasing Pettee’s money comes with a catch: She won’t buy anything at full price. The stay-at-home mom, who lives in Bronxville, New York, also skips Black Friday and won’t spend much time browsing in stores. She researches items online before she buys and expects to do about half her shopping on the Web.