Although foot traffic in retail stores fell slightly, total spending rose a healthy 8.8% during Christmas week in the U.S., according to research firm ShopperTrak. The increase came as welcome relief after a severe storm in the Northeast led to disappointing sales the Saturday before Christmas. "As expected, pent-up demand following the snowstorm on Super Saturday ... pushed consumers to spend heavily last week," said Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak.

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