RETAILING: Christmas Sales: Not Bad

Christmas Sales: Not Bad

Video games were hot, and so was a miniature deep-fat fryer called a Fry Baby. After wrappings from these and millions of other gifts had made messes of American living rooms on Christmas morn, U.S. retailers could look back on record sales that topped last year's Christmas totals by 11%, according to a preliminary Department of Commerce report. Allowing for an inflation rate of 5%, that still meant sales were up an average of 6%.

Many individual retailers were less ebullient. Their reactions approximated that of the kid...

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