SWEETWATER, Fla. -

There were shoppers a plenty at South Florida malls on Christmas Eve.

Parking lots and stores at Dolphin Mall were packed Monday evening.

"There's a lot of people. It's a lot busier than usual," said Ralph Llamas.

But is the shopping enough to help rebound the economy? Consumer market research firm NPD says no.

NPD says shoppers are nervous because of talk regarding the fiscal cliff, and that Hurricane Sandy and the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., have put a damper on the holiday season. After Thanksgiving, sales rose 2.5 percent, but in recent weeks have fallen 4.3 percent.

Malls were open late and offering discounts, hoping to reel shoppers back.

Many shoppers told Local 10 they were looking for deals as they searched for last minutes gifts.

"If we can give them nice things at a lesser price, you know, it works as well," said Llamas.

One girl said she bought a pea coat at Burlington Coat Factory for $40.