Holiday season still weak

My take: positive short-term (it’s better than expected after all) , not so in medium to long term : consumers are stalling. And commercial property is feeling some contaiogn effect from tight credit
clipped from online.wsj.com

Spurred by heavy discounting, U.S. shoppers spent furiously in the days just before Christmas. But holiday retail sales appeared to still fall short of industry expectations, setting the stage for bigger markdowns in the increasingly important post-Christmas period.

The 11th-hour rush helped strengthen a weak holiday season. From the day after Thanksgiving to midnight Monday, total retail sales, excluding automobiles, rose 3.6% over the previous year, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse, a unit of MasterCard Advisors. But factoring out spending on gasoline — which soared thanks to a 27% average price increase since this time last year — retail sales increased a lackluster 2.4%. Industry forecasts had predicted gains of 3.5% to as high as 4.5%.

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