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‘Late surge’ seen in US holiday shopping

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NEW YORK — US retailers were hoping for bumper Christmas sales to ignite modest consumer spending, and there were fresh signs on Tuesday that they might get it, thanks to an apparent late shopping surge.

MasterCard reported consumer spending had jumped 5.5 percent in the 50 days before Christmas compared with the same period a year earlier, as retailers reported a late spending spree.

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“If last year’s holiday story was about gaining some stability, this year?s is about getting back to growth,” said Michael McNamara of SpendingPulse, which tracks data for MasterCard.

The figures — which exclude auto sales — offer hope for retailers battered by the downturn and for the broader economy, which remains highly dependent on consumer spending.

McNamara noted strong growth for jewelry, apparel, luxury and furniture goods.

Online retailers were helped by poor weather in the mid-west and the western United States.

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Meanwhile Michael Niemira of the International Council of Shopping Centers said a late boom in spending had helped buoy sales.

“That last-minute holiday spending lift was aided by consumers who had more money as a result of the improving economy, more time as a result of the Friday holiday (with Christmas on Saturday, the federal holiday was observed a day earlier) and more holiday-season excitement than in many years.”


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South Carolina woman who told cops they can’t arrest a ‘white, clean girl’ pleaded guilty to DUI: report

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Last year, 34-year-old Lauren Cutshaw of South Carolina was arrested in Bluffton after running a four-way stop sign at 60 miles an hour. Her blood alcohol level was registered at 0.18 — more than double the legal limit — and she admitted to being high and had marijuana paraphernalia in her car.

According to police reports at the time, Cutshaw offered an unusual defense of her behavior to the arresting officer: she shouldn't go to jail because she's a "thoroughbred ... white, clean girl" who was a cheerleader and sorority sister who graduated with "perfect grades" from a "high accredited university."

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Trump’s old business patterns are now spreading across the federal government: report

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The Trump, Inc. podcast by ProPublica and WNYC is back. And we’ll be bringing you new episodes every two weeks.

When we started all the way back in early 2018, we laid out how we’d be digging into the mysteries around President Donald Trump’s business. After all, by keeping ownership of that business, Trump has had dueling interests: the country and his pocketbook.

We’ve done dozens of episodes over the past 18 months, detailing how predatory lenders are paying the president, how Trump has profited from his own inauguration and how Trump’s friends have sought to use their accessin pursuit of profit.

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Republicans are getting nervous about Trump’s chances in Wisconsin: ‘There’s no way he’s gaining supporters’

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President Donald Trump's election chances, once again, will likely hinge on Wisconsin's suburbs -- but he can't expect a "free ride."

Hillary Clinton infamously lost the crucial state after failing to campaign there in the waning days before the 2016 election, but some GOP voters there are souring on the president, reported Politico.

“For the president to win Wisconsin again, he’s not going to have the free ride he had last time,” said Brandon Scholz, former executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party. "He’s not going to have Hillary Clinton sitting on her hands “He’s going to have a completely engaged opposition party on the ground.”

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