The Fed came out with its numbers yesterday, and it turns outthat holiday retailsales in December were disappointing, falling 0.3% fromNovember. But the good news is that they rose 5.4%from December 2008.Hit the hardest were businesses termed as"electronics and appliance" stores, which fell 2.6% month overmonth, while "general merchandise stores" decreased 0.8%. Appareldropped 0.6%.On a brighter note, "sporting goods, hobby, book andmusic stores" rose 1.6%, and "furniture and home furnishingsstores" inched up 0.3%. Department stores wereflat.Asthis Washington Post article notes, in itsDecember report, the Commerce Department revised November'sincrease over October from 1.3% to 1.8%, so that contributed tolast month's lag.In summary, it looks like sales were better fromlast year, but still far from "good." Are we seeing a slowrecovery, no recovery, or are these figures not very goodindicators of what's really happening in theindustry?ALSO:Zale's Woes Are a Contrast to a Shining Tiffany.

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