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The Boston Globe

Business

Holiday sales a big letdown for US retailers

Early results indicate growth was slowest since 2008 across country

Politics, extreme weather, and economic uncertainty kept many consumers from spending freely in recent months and contributed to a disappointing holiday shopping season, analysts said.

Although post-Christmas sales and gift cards could yet boost the final numbers for retailers, few analysts expect the totals to come close to earlier projections. Retailers nationwide saw sales between Oct. 30 and Dec. 24 grow by less than 1 percent compared with last year, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. The national survey tracks key holiday sales categories, such as electronics, jewelry, and furnishings as well as online sales.

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