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No Happy Spending for Retailers This Season

Sean Gallup/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Retailers didn’t have the holiday shopping season they had expected in 2012, according to MasterCard Inc.’s SpendingPulse unit, mostly due to fears of the fiscal cliff and devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy.

From Oct. 28, when Sandy was bearing down on the Northeast, to Christmas Eve, SpendingPulse reports holiday sales rose a mere 0.7 percent compared to the same period in 2011.

This represents the slowest growth in spending since 2008, when the U.S. was in the full throes of what has been since termed the “Great Recession.”

Customer Growth Partners, a retail consulting firm, confirms this assessment based on its own data from the government, retailers and other researchers.

Retailers depend on this time of year for a quarter of their annual revenues.  The news of slow spending belied an earlier optimism brought on by rising consumer sentiment directly ahead of the holidays.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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