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Report: Holiday retail sales growth weak

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Factors ranging from fear over the impending fiscal cliff to inclement weather contributed to a smaller-than-expected increase in holiday retail spending, according to MasterCard Advisors’ Dec. 25 SpendingPulse report.

Retail sales for the period from Oct. 28 to Dec. 24 were up 0.7 percent relative to the same period a year ago, according to the Purchase, N.Y.-based MasterCard Advisors. In comparison, retail sales for the same two-month stretch increased 2 percent from 2010 to 2011.

Prior to Thanksgiving, the National Retail Federation had projected that holiday sales would increase more than 4 percent this year to about $586 billion. The SpendingPulse report tracks both in-store and online sales at U.S. merchants.

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