By and  on December 13, 2011

Retail sales in November, and even the virtual shopping holidays of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, weren’t all they were initially cracked up to be.

A U.S. Commerce Department report issued Tuesday, as well as mounting empirical data from a variety of private-sector sources, revealed that November sales were below economists’ expectations, as sales at specialty, department and general merchandise stores rose modestly. A study by RetailNext, a firm that monitors traffic and buying at point of sale, even suggested that sales for Thanksgiving weekend were down, despite a Black Friday surge in department store sales and other mall anchors that elected to extend their hours to historic duration.

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