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Modest sales for '07 holiday season


PURCHASE, N.Y. The 2007 holiday shopping season saw slow growth this year, growing 3.6% for the period between Black Friday and Dec. 24 over the same period in 2006, according to MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse, a macro-economic report tracking retail sales nationally.

"Overall, sales came in just above the lower end of the range we were expecting, maintaining the slower, modest growth we've been seeing throughout the year," noted Michael McNamara, vp of research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors. He added, "Most industry observers had adjusted their sights down, but anyone who was looking for this holiday season to kick-start a new wave of growth would find these numbers falling short of expectation."

According to the report, specialty apparel sales were up 1.4% on a seasonally adjusted basis. Electronics sales started strong with a 15% growth on Black Friday, but then dropped down to only a 5.8% gain over the same period last year by mid-season, with overall growth for the season at 2.7%.

The strongest categories this year were e-commerce, with year over year growth rate of 22.4%, and luxury with a 7.1% rate of growth over 2006.

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