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Bullish holiday shoppers are eager to spend
Bullish holiday shoppers are eager to spend

Holiday shoppers were back in force Friday, clutching gift cards, searching for deals, returning unwanted presents and feeling pretty good about the year ahead. Each year, Erin Neubauer, 45, spends the day after Christmas buying ornaments with her mother. But this year, there were so many deals at Fashion Island in Newport Beach that the Long Beach homemaker splurged on three pairs of shoes, a spatula and a wine accessory as well, spending $250 total. Higher home prices and a falling unemployment rate make her feel better about the economy. Lower gas prices mean she's spending $20 less per tank than she normally does, she said. "I feel optimistic going into the new year."...

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