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U.S. Retail Sales Growth Accelerated to 4.2% Last Week…

Same-store sales at a selection of U.S. retailers posted the biggest holiday jump last week, rising 4.2 percent as more consumers finished shopping, according to a survey of retailers.

Almost 74 percent of shoppers completed gift buying in the week ended Dec. 18, spurring faster sales growth than the previous three weeks. That compared with 56.6 percent a week earlier, according to a chain-store sales index released today by New York-based International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Buying increased after consumer confidence climbed in November to the highest level in five months, even as Saks Inc. and other retailers limited promotions and discounts. Sixty-two percent of adults expected to spend the same or more on holiday gifts this year than last, according to a National Retail Federation survey released Dec. 15.

“Now that we are down to the wire, consumers have stepped up their shopping pace, as well as their purchases,” Michael Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and research director, said in an e-mailed statement today. The group maintained its forecast that holiday sales will rise 3.5 percent to 4 percent, the biggest increase in four years.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Burritt in Greensboro, North Carolina, at cburritt@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello in New York at rajello@bloomberg.net.

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-21/u-s-retail-sales-accelerated-last-week-in-biggest-jump-of-holiday-season.html

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