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Consumer spending rose in 2012, but not by as much as the year before. In December, these shoppers were out and about in Glendale, Calif. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Nov. 17: A sign in a Staten Island storefront tells a lot. It was still closed because of the damage done by Superstorm Sandy in late October. Mario Tama/Getty Images hide caption

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Mario Tama/Getty Images