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Last-minute shopping before Christmas lifted sales

December 28, 2011 |  2:33 pm

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Procrastinating shoppers scrambling to buy gifts gave retailers a lift in the last days before Christmas.

Sales at stores open at least a year rose 4.5% last week compared with the same time last year, according to a weekly sales index from the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs. That was also a 0.9% increase over sales the week earlier.

Last-minute buyers also turned online, where spending last week increased 16% to $2.8 billion compared with a year earlier, according to market research firm ComScore Inc. From Nov. 1 to Dec. 25, online retailers raked in $35.3 billion, a 15% bump over a year earlier.

"Holiday e-commerce spending has remained strong throughout the season," ComScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni said in a statement.

That spending continued into the holiday weekend, with online sales up 10% on Christmas Day and jumping 27.8% on the day after Christmas compared with the same days in 2010, according to a survey from IBM.

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-- Shan Li

Photo: A last-minute shopper leaves the Toys R Us flagship store in New York's Times Square on Christmas Eve. Credit: Mary Altaffer / Associated Press

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