A Sugarplum Shopping Spree

From cashmere to computers, Christmas sales soar

"A merry Christmas, Bob!" said Ebenezer Scrooge to his clerk Bob Cratchit after waking from his nightmare in Dickens' A Christmas Carol. "A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you for many a year!" America's merchants this year can feel as happy as Bob Cratchit, for consumers are giving them their merriest Christmas for many a year.

The economy's boisterous recovery has put shoppers in the mood to buy the best and the brightest, from $600 home computers to $300 cashmere bathrobes. At Manhattan's...

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