PORTLAND — With a couple of Christmas parties on her calendar for the weekend, Kim Mickiewicz was cruising the aisles Saturday morning at the Renys department store for some stocking stuffers, including decorative pencils and a dry-erase board with markers. More-exciting gifts waited in her cart, but she didn’t want to talk openly about them.

“I can’t tell you everything I’m getting today,” she said. “Those are from Santa Claus.”

Mickiewicz was among a steady stream of holiday shoppers in Renys, on a day retailers have dubbed “Super Saturday.” With the final Saturday before Christmas falling this year on Christmas Eve, many stores are looking for a surge in sales this Saturday and Sunday instead of next weekend, when people may be traveling or with family.

“A lot of people don’t realize it, but the last full weekend before Christmas is almost as big as Black Friday,” said Curtis Picard, executive director of the Maine Merchants Association.

Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving — contributed to what Picard said is shaping up to be a decent holiday shopping season in Maine.

No sales figures are available yet, but Picard said his discussions with some of the association’s 400 members, who account for three-quarters of the state’s annual retail sales, put Maine in line with national expectations. This week, the National Retail Federation raised an earlier holiday sales forecast from an increase of 2.8 percent over last year to 3.8 percent.

In parts of southern and coastal Maine, a morning snow squall that left a white coating created the right seasonal backdrop for shoppers. It came following a record warm November that was puncuated by unexpected snow storms before Halloween and Thanksgiving.

The strange weather appears to have sent mixed signals to Mainers about buying skis and snowshoes, heavy coats and winter boots. Cold-weather sales are off, said John Marden, treasurer at Marden’s Surplus & Salvage, which contributed to a season that so far is “a little soft.”

But Thanksgiving was strong, he said, and this weekend should be very busy.

“We’re expecting full parking lots and lines at the registers,” Marden said.

Boots, snowshoes, hats and gloves line the center aisle at Renys, which opened its downtown Portland store in April. This is the chain’s 15th location and Christian Stepp, the manager, said business is meeting expectations. He credited the community’s aggressive “buy local” campaign with helping to raise the store’s visibility.

“Portland has definitely embraced Renys coming to town,” he said.

Harder to measure, Picard said, is the impact of online purchases.

The Chase Paymentech Pulse Index, which tracks daily Internet sales, found sales up 27 percent and transactions up 38 percent over last year for the first 44 days of the shopping season.

Another variable is gift cards, which have become increasingly popular. Many of them will be redeemed in January, Picard said, providing another slug of sales after Christmas.

“The holiday season really runs now from October to the end of January,” he said.

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