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Let the real shopping begin

Gift cards for sale at a Chevron service station convenience

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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The nation's retailers pulled out the stops over the long holiday weekend to hit their sales goals. They expanded hours and marked down items. Some retail analysts think it worked and predict overall holiday sales will be up five percent from last year. But others say sales from Thanksgiving through Christmas were up 6.6 percent from 2005 but didn't match higher expectations. Ashley Milne-Tyte has more.


ASHLEY MILNE-TYTE: Holiday shopping isn't over yet.

According to Bill Martin of ShopperTrak, the week after Christmas is often a big contributor to the season's success.

BILL MARTIN: It can represent as much as 18 percent of all of the foot traffic.

As people redeem gift cards and spend Christmas money. Martin says all in all this holiday season is wrapping up a pretty good year for shoppers and stores.

MARTIN: I think the mood is exceptionally strong. When we think about seeing growth in the retail stores, we had 47 out of the 50 weeks so far this year have been an increase over last year.

Martin says the numbers represent a cheerful sign that despite a slowing economy and see-sawing energy prices, consumers are confident and won't be distracted from their favorite pastime.

In New York, I'm Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

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