December 16, 2008, 12:00 AM

The last minute gets pushed back to the very last minute by some retailers

Shoppers will be able to place orders as late as 5 p.m. Eastern time on Dec. 23 and still receive delivery on Christmas Eve at online retail sites operated by GSI Commerce. That will come in handy for many consumers, GSI says.

Shoppers will be able to place orders as late as 5 p.m. Eastern time on Dec. 23 and still receive their packages in time to place them under the tree on Christmas Eve at online retail sites operated by GSI Commerce Inc. Last year, the cut-off for Dec. 24 delivery at GSI’s clients was noon on Dec. 22, the vendor says.

GSI says the extra time is especially welcome this year because there are fewer than usual shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. And many consumers have yet to begin shopping this year, a GSI spokeswoman says, pointing to a National Retail Federation study released today showing that more than 41 million consumers had done no shopping by early December.

“In this climate, online retailers are very interested in extending their shipping offers and cutoff deadlines,” says Bob Wuesthoff, executive vice president of global operations for GSI. “By combining the capabilities of our proprietary technology platform, network of fulfillment centers totaling more than two million square feet, and strategic carrier partnerships, GSI is well-positioned to offer our clients one of the latest shipping cutoffs in the industry.”

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