By  on January 12, 2012

WASHINGTON — Apparel and accessories stores showed the onlysign of sales growth in December for the fashion sector during thecrucial holiday season, as consumers pulled back on holiday spending atdepartment stores and general merchandise stores, which each postedsales declines, a U.S. Commerce Department report showed Thursday.

Sales at specialty stores rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percentto $19.1 billion in December compared with November. But sales atdepartment stores and the broader general merchandise store category,which includes discounters and department stores, did not fare as well.Department stores posted a 0.2 percent sales decline to $15.2 billion inDecember, while sales at general merchandise stores fell 0.8 percent to$52.7 billion.

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