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It was a very green Christmas

New York - Snow may have buried some of the post-Christmas business in the Northeast and new numbers show consumer confidence is off, but you would never know it from the holiday retail numbers that are coming out today.
Reports from the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs, MasterCard and Johnson Redbook paint a very merry picture for retail business this holiday selling season, all falling in the range of 3.6 to 5.5 percent. If these numbers stand up to the inevitable revisions that seem to occur all the time, they would be among the strongest gains retailers have seen in a long, long time.
MasterCard Advisors Spending Pulse was the most bullish on the season, showing a 5.5 percent gain in the 50 days before Christmas. In breaking out specific categories, MasterCard said even home furnishings showed a slight gain, though nowhere near the 11.2 spike apparel spending got.
The ICSC-Goldman survey pegged a surge of 4.8 percent in the last week before Christmas which they projected should take December same store sales up 3.5 percent and the two-month tally to 4 percent, "the strongest since at least 2006."
Johnson was the most conservative, but even it showed a 4.6 percent jump for the final week before Christmas, contributing to a year-over-year gain for December of 3.6 percent.
No matter who was doing the counting, virtually every report this week beats the forecasts made earlier in the season.

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