Initial Figures Indicate Retail Sales Not Jolly News

Preliminary figures by SpendingPulse indicate retail sales this season fell by as much as 4 percent overall. SpendingPulse is a division of MasterCard Advisors and keeps track of total purchases by cash, check and credit card. Major retailers will start releasing their sales results Jan. 8.

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NPR's business news starts with plunging retail sales.

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WERTHEIMER: Despite last-minute discounts, shoppers trimmed their wish lists this holiday season. Retail sales fell by as much as four percent overall. That's according to new data released yesterday by MasterCard. Luxury goods plummeted 35 percent. As more data rolls in, experts say this may turn out to be the weakest holiday shopping season in four decades.

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