FIRST AIRED: January 12, 2018

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>> The holiday bells have stopped ringing but retailers of all kinds have much to cheer about. Shopping during the November/December holiday period soared by the largest amount in 12 years the National Retail Federation revealed on Friday. I'm Conway Gittens in New York. Thanks to low unemployment and high consumer confidence.
And a belief out there that employees who are about to get a raise or at least a bonus, American consumers spent nearly $700 billion during the holidays. That was far better than any estimate from the grinches out there, given the constant flood of retail store closings and bankruptcies all year long.
The Trump tax cuts that were signed into law just as procrastinators were buying those final gifts likely gave consumer confidence a boost. So what were the big stocking stuffers? Everything except sporting equipment. Thanks to the latest iPhone, electronic sales were up, and even clothing sales, which have struggled for years, didn't do too bad.
Physical retailers are doing what they can to keep up with shifting buying habits, but online purchases continue to outstrip the broader industry with the sales up 11.5 %. US consumers are the biggest contributor to economic growth, and holiday shopping can drive up to 40% of annual sales for some shops.
And that strong showing in 2017 no doubt easing the pain during a turbulent time for the industry.