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Mass. holiday retail sales weaker than expected

Massachusetts holiday sales turned out to be even weaker than the modest gains predicted by the Retailers Association of Massachusetts.

Retail sales in November and December climbed just 2 percent from the same period of 2012, falling below the 3.5 percent increase projected before the holiday season began, according to a statement released today the retail group. Massachusetts holiday sales also lagged behind national sales, which the National Retail Federation said climbed 3.8 percent.

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Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, attributed the lackluster season to fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, storms that kept consumers away from the malls and a high rate of tech-savvy consumers that buy online.

The Massachusetts figures are based on small, local retailers with limited or no Internet sales. The National Retail Federation includes Internet sellers and mainly gathers data from large national companies.

Taryn Luna can be reached at taryn.luna@globe.com.
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