Last-minute Christmas shopping, post-Christmas bargain hunting and gift-card redemptions helped to pace national retail sales to an increase last week, according to the International Council of Shopping Center's weekly chain-store report.
Sales for the week ended Dec. 29 increased by 0.6 percent compared with the previous week and saw a 2.7 percent gain compared with the same time last year.
The council reported that a "calendar shift" created a favorable comparison week. Christmas Eve fell on a Monday, which gave the week some pre-Christmas sales as well as post-holiday sales.
The council is forecasting that sales will increase by 4 percent to 4.5 percent for December. That's in keeping with the council's holiday forecast for a 3 percent gain for the combined November-December period.
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