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December starts slow for retailers

New York — Below-plan sales for most retailers resulted in a meager 1.1 percent pickup in the Redbook Retail Sales Average for the first week of December.

This gain was well below the 2.7 percent increase for the final week of November and off from Redbook's targeted gain of 2.1 percent for the month.

The laggard results for December's first week were attributed to consumers taking a breather from their after-Thanksgiving shopping, and to the weather. "Retailers described the week as a lull that began the weekend after a hectic [for some] post-Thanksgiving surge," Redbook said. "A snowstorm swept through the East Coast as well as the Midwest, keeping shoppers away."

The research firm also projected that retailers' results would probably be volatile week to week throughout December, and the stores have also urged that their November-December sales gains should be evaluated as one period in comparisons with last year's holiday season.

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