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National Retail Federation

December retail sales fall 0.1% as holiday shoppers remained restrained

December retail sales fall 0.1% as holiday shoppers remained restrained

Holiday sales came in lower than expected, fresh data show, which has U.S. retailers starting the new year with a hard look at operations.

In December, retail sales fell 0.1% from the previous month, the Commerce Department said Friday. The National Retail Federation separately reported that sales during November and December increased 3% to $625.9 billion, below the forecasted 3.7% growth and under the 4.1% increase of the 2014 holiday season.

The subpar retail performance was reflected Friday in Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s move to close 269 stores, with 154 in the U.S., including nine in California. That followed announcements from Macy's and Kmart that those chains would close...

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