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(AP) - THE NEWS: Last-minute shoppers crowded into malls and stores during the last weekend before Christmas, but many didn't seem to be in the spending spirit.

THE BIG PICTURE: This holiday season, Americans have a lot on their minds: the Superstorm Sandy cleanup in November, the recent Newtown, Conn., school shooting and the fast approaching "fiscal cliff" deadline. That's led to a muted approach to holiday shopping, which is bad news for retailers, which can make up to 40 percent of annual sales during November and December.

WHAT'S NEXT: ShopperTrak expects holiday spending to rise just 2.5 percent, to $257.7 billion.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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