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U.S. Retail Sales Muscle Up 0.9%

BY CSA STAFF

Washington D.C., U.S. retail sales increased 0.9% in December, which is stronger than the 0.7% increase expected by Wall Street analysts Friday, according to global news agency Agence France-Press. The Commerce Department report showed that sales were up 1.0% when excluding volatile automobile sales.

December’s increase was the largest since July. But November’s increase was cut almost in half, to a revised 0.6% from an original estimate of 1.0%.

The rise last month was led by a 3.8% increase in sales at gasoline stations, following a 2.9% increase in the prior month. Sales at electronics and appliance stores rose 3.0% in the month after rising a healthy 5.8% in November.

Excluding gasoline sales, retail sales rose a robust 0.6% in December following a 0.4% gain in November. Excluding both gasoline and autos, retail sales rose 0.7% in December. Auto sales rose 0.3% in December after remaining unchanged in the prior month.

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Toys ‘R’ Us Holiday Sales Up

BY CSA STAFF

Wayne, N.J., Toys “R” Us Inc. said Wednesday its U.S. comp-store sales for the nine-week holiday selling season rose 4.1%. Company officials credited the results to strong innovation in toy offerings, better in-stock positions, improved execution at the store level, aggressive marketing and high customer demand for a number of popular items.

Comp-store sales at the privately held company’s Babies “R” Us division rose 6% for the Oct. 29 to Dec. 30 period, while international sales rose 1.9%.

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Williams-Sonoma Sales Up 3.6%

BY CSA STAFF

San Francisco, Williams-Sonoma Inc. said Tuesday its comp-store sales rose 1.1% during the holiday period, and reaffirmed profit and sales projections for the fourth quarter and full year. Total sales for the eight-week period ending Dec. 24 rose 3.6% to $900.4 million.

The company maintained its forecast for fourth-quarter net income between $1 and $1.06 per share on revenue of $1.23 billion to $1.26 billion. Full-year earnings are anticipated in a range of $1.74 to $1.80 per share on sales of $3.71 billion to $3.74 billion.

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