Good news for the economy, bad news for people who like fire sales: Holiday sales rose 3.6 percent between November 1 and December 24, a small rebound that should help retailers avoid the disaster they faced last year after a 2.3 percent drop. Profits are expected to rise as well, since retailers had a whole year to plan their inventories to match consumer demand. Online sales, meanwhile, surged 15.5 percent, though they still make up less than 10 percent of all sales.
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