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  • xfein xfein Dec 27, 1999 2:46 PM Flag

    give us a break BAMM

    Retailers Revel in Strong Holiday Sales

    By
    Ilaina Jonas
    Reuters

    NEW YORK (Dec. 27) - U.S.
    retailers were still dripping with Yuletide cheer Sunday as
    deep-pocketed shoppers crammed malls to extend a holiday
    gift-buying season that has already exceeded
    expectations.

    ''It's just jingle all the way,'' said William Ford,
    senior economic advisor to TeleCheck Services Inc., a
    provider of checking services to retailers.

    ''If
    it's like the rest of the season, it probably will be
    the record year of the 1990s. It's just a perfect
    Christmas for retailers,'' he added.

    Ford said he
    expects same-store sales for the Christmas season, which
    he defined as the 29 days after Thanksgiving, to
    rise about 6 percent above the same period a year ago.
    Add another 1 percent for sales from stores that
    didn't exist last year and about 1.5 percent from retail
    sales over the Internet and total holiday season sales
    may increase by over 8 percent.

    ''This has
    been a truly remarkable story for the retail
    industry,'' said Scott Krugman, spokesman for the National
    Retail Federation, an organization representing the full
    gamut of retailers from department stores, to online
    retailers, to mom-and-pop stores.

    The federation
    expects the U.S. Department of Commerce to release
    figures next month showing that Americans spent about
    $184 billion during the November-December holiday
    season, about a 6.5-percent increase from 1998, Krugman
    said.

    ''I can't wait to see the final numbers,'' he
    said.

    The biggest reason for a season that may make
    retailers giddy is the economy -- low inflation, low
    unemployment, and strong consumer confidence.

    The season
    accounts for about 25 percent of annual retail sales, and
    even more for some smaller stores.

    Shoppers
    Sunday couldn't wait to get past the doors and spend the
    gift certificates they received for Christmas, or grab
    on-sale merchandise.

    At Woodfield Mall, in the
    Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Ill., more than 1,000
    people went online the traditional way and cued up
    outside Marshall Field's for the department store's 6:30
    a.m. opening.

    Crate & Barrel at the same mall
    was forced to limit the amount of people in the store
    when the check-out line reached 150, said Karen Mac
    Donald, spokeswoman for Taubman Centers Inc., owner and
    operator of 28 shopping centers in 12 states.

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