Shoppers Spend a Bit More During Holidays

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Retailers had a merry Christmas in 2009. Holiday shoppers spent more this year than last year, according to data released Monday.

It's just another sign that the U.S. economy is turning around.

Retail sales rose 3.6 percent from November 1 through Christmas Eve, compared to the 2.3 percent drop in sales last Christmas, according to MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse.

Among the top sellers this year were consumer electronics, up 5.9 percent, helped by flat-panel TVs, smart phones, camera and video games.

Footwear was up 5 percent and jewelry was up 5.6 percent over last year.

Stores are reporting healthier profits this Christmas because this year they ordered fewer inventories. That means they sold most of their products and consequently don't have a lot of unsold, leftover merchandise.

A complete picture of how individual retailers faired will not be available until Jan. 7.

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