Stores cheer higher holiday sales

Retail sales rose in December over the previous year, giving merchants cause to celebrate as they ended an uncertain year. According to figures from the National Retail Federation, sales for the month were up 1.1% over December 2008, beating the association's original prediction of a 1% decline. "With an eye on managing inventory and maintaining lower price points, retailers did a tremendous job of planning for the holiday season," said Rosalind Wells, chief economist for NRF.

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