Chain stores in the U.S. saw better-than-expected same-store sales in December, posting a 2.8% increase over the same month in 2008, ICSC reported. "The season began slowly, but spending finished on a positive note as the two-month holiday season posted a comp-store gain of 1.8 percent -- better than our expectation of a 1 percent gain," said ICSC Chief Economist and Director of Research Michael P. Niemira.

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