Retail sales end year strong - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Retail sales end year strong

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NEW YORK (AP) -- New data shows Americans spent more on clothes, shoes, luxury goods and electronics in December 2010 than in 2009.

The figures released Wednesday by MasterCard Advisors' Spending Pulse shows that shoppers extended momentum that had been building since August.  They treated themselves to new clothes and shoes, while shopping for gifts during the most important period of the year for retailers.

Jewelry sales also sparkled and online sales soared.  Even home furnishings and furniture, which have been pummeled by the housing-market slump, eked out a small increase for the most recent five-week period.

However, spending in many key non-essential areas other than clothing remains below pre-recession levels.  But analysts predict holiday spending rose faster than in any year since 2006.

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