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Retailers May Have Had a Great December

January 5, 2011

Analysts hope for best year since 2006.

Holiday 2010 sales were anything but ho, ho hum, if the numbers come in as expected. U.S. retail sales at stores open at least a year are expected to show a December growth rate of 3.4%, which would be the best performance for the month since 2006, according to research firm Retail Metrics.

Still some economists are hedging their bets due to the blizzard that hit the East Coast.

“The blizzard is clearly a wild card,” said Ken Perkins of Retail Metrics, adding retail traffic looked to have picked up the pace once consumers dug out of snow. “We are still of the mind that holiday and December sales were solid and could surprise on the upside.”

Trade groups and other firms including the National Retail Federation, the International Council of Shopping Centers and traffic-tracking firm ShopperTrak have all raised their outlooks for the holiday season. Meanwhile, sales estimates and data from firms such as MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse and comScore Inc. have showcased continued holiday momentum both at stores and online.

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