Business: Deck the Halls, Clear the Shelves

U.S. retailers have their best Christmas ever

Americans rammed Christmas 1977 through a Cuisinart food processor, flashed it on a Comp IV desktop computer game, scented it with Chanel No. 19 and set it to play with Star Wars toys. Those items sold briskly this Christmas, as did women's underpants labeled "Bloomie's" (for Bloomingdale's, the big Manhattan department store) and hundreds of other expensive baubles for the kitchen, bedroom, bath and body. When the buying spree ended on Christmas Eve, U.S. retailers, as exhausted as their customers, could look back on their most successful...

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