Early Verdict on Holiday Shopping: Sales Are Up, Outlook Is Positive

Retailers are hopeful for 2010, as early numbers indicate as much as a 3.6% increase in holiday shopping sales over last year's season.

Despite sales remaining somewhat flat amidst lower inventories and seemingly lower demand, overall numbers for sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve -- excluding automobiles and gas -- boasted a 3.6% boost according to MasterCard Inc.'s SpendingPulse unit.  Apparently, last-minute shoppers rounded out a relatively robust season that breeds optimism for the coming year.

Official December sales figures will not be available until January 7, and the fourth quarter doesn't close until January 31.  But for now, it looks like retailers are coming out on top, which is no doubt welcome news for many of Madison Avenue's brightest.

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