NEW YORK — Although no one claimed a clear victory, stores on Sunday reported better-than-expected post-Thanksgiving business, which slightly raised hopes about the outlook for the cloudy holiday shopping season.

Before roasting their turkeys, retailers were pessimistic. But by the time they started eating the leftovers, they began sensing consumers had an appetite to shop. On Friday, shoppers were lured by intensified retail advertising and the avalanche of early-bird"doorbuster" sales, two-for-one deals, coupons for another 10 to 15 percent off, and credit card discounts.

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