By  on January 14, 2014

WASHINGTON — Consumers took advantage of heavy discounting as the holiday season came to a close in December, driving up sales at apparel and accessories stores and general merchandisers, but pulling back on spending at department stores, the Commerce Department’s monthly sales report showed Tuesday.

Apparel and accessories stores posted a seasonally adjusted 1.8 percent increase in sales to $21.5 billion in December compared with November, while department stores posted a 0.7 percent decline to $14.4 billion. General merchandise stores, a category that includes discounters and department stores, saw a 0.1 percent increase in sales to $55.3 billion.

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