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Byline: Becky Yerak
CHICAGO _ Less than 48 hours before Christmas, Carol Ng visited the North Bridge mall along Michigan Avenue to cross the last two gifts off her shopping list: a $120 Star Wars set from a Lego store and a bonsai tree from a kiosk.
"I'm definitely spending more this year because I just got a job," said the 22-year-old Columbia College graduate, now a marketing associate for the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago. "I'm probably spending triple the amount I did last year."
So why are retailers and analysts on pins and needles this holiday season?
Because on the day before Christmas, predictions about how the holiday season is faring for retailers are as wide-ranging as the variety of Chia Pets available.
Part of the uncertainty stems from shifting shopping patterns of consumers such as Ng. While her gifts include an electric drill from home improvement …