Last-minute shoppers crowded into malls and stores during the last weekend before Christmas, but many didn't seem to be in the spirit of spending.

The stores may have been crowded, but that doesn't mean Christmas shoppers have been spending at the same pace as in previous years.

An analyst at market research firm NPD is estimating that customer traffic over the weekend was in line with the same time a year ago -- but Marshal Cohen says shoppers appear to be spending less.

He says there have been "just too many distractions" -- including storms, the school shootings and the fiscal cliff.

But the firm ShopperTrak has even cut its forecast for holiday spending to 2.5 percent growth, down from 3.3 percent.

To entice shoppers, retailers large and small have expanded hours and stepped up promotions. Some are staying open late this Christmas Eve, and others are adding additional price cuts to already discounted merchandise.

Associated Press