(WASHINGTON) -- Retail spending tailed off a bit at the end of December, but 2010 was strong on the whole.
According to an industry report released Thursday, retailers had their strongest holiday gains in four years as sales at malls and shopping centers rose nearly four percent in 2010. A blizzard in the midwest and northeast took a bite out of store sales at the end of last month, but a strong November more than offset a slightly weaker than expected result for December sales.
Mesirow Financial Chief Economist Diane Swonk is excited about the new numbers, saying "the economy is clearly accelerating. Consumers that do have jobs are feeling better about the economy and spending more."
December sales are three percent higher than 2009, but Mesirow says not everything is rosy. "The bad news is oil prices, energy prices crept up over the course of the holiday season. Prices at the pump, in particular, soared in the last few weeks of December and that forced consumers to make trade-offs in their spending."
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