Retailers had a shorter-than-usual season, with cold weather boosting sales of sweaters and other winter gear, conditions that likely will lead to "respectable results" when retailers report holiday season sales, Retail Tracker Managing Partner Mark Friedman said. The most important part, he said, is that inventories will be at the right levels heading into spring. "That's critical because in January you've still got to move out the rest of your holiday merchandise to be clean for the first quarter and the spring season."

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