Retail sales during the holiday season ending December 25th grew at a mediocre 0.7 percent compared to the same period last year, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, the data tracking and analysis division of MasterCard. This is one-third of the the growth rate experienced in 2011 which was in itself a disappointing year. Some analysts believe that retailers should be pleased despite the low-growth number considering the fiscal cliff uncertainty, Hurricane Sandy and the school shooting in Connecticut, all of which contributed to depressing consumer enthusiasm for shopping. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index is registering its lowest level since July.
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