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Economy weighs on shoppers in final holiday dash to mall

By Bloomberg News

This article was published December 24, 2012 at 11:19 a.m.

— Holiday shoppers descended on malls over the weekend in a last-minute dash to buy gifts amid concerns about the nation’s economy and the impasse in Washington over taxes and spending.

Several analysts said Americans have become warier as lawmakers in Washington and President Barak Obama approaches the end of the year without an agreement to forestall higher taxes and automatic spending cuts — the so-called fiscal cliff. Last month, retailers from Macy’s to Target posted same-store sales that trailed analysts’ estimates.

At the same time, consumer confidence fell in December to a five-month low, according to a report Friday.

And, in another sign that consumers appear to be pulling back, U.S. online sales increased 8.4 percent this holiday season, compared to almost a 16 percent gain a year ago, MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse said.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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