Business: Semi-Happy Returns

"The Ted Grinch did not steal the retail Christmas." So says Ted Grindal, a happy executive with the Minneapolis-based Dayton Hudson specialty and department-store chain, speaking about the 14% sales increase his company rang up in December. While not every retailer did that well, most were pleasantly surprised by the big spending they saw this holiday season. The forecasts for December, in which stores commonly do about 20% of their annual trade, were for very slow business as a result of consumer worries about the economy. But now it appears that, overall, sales ran 5% to 10% ahead of last...

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