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January 14, 2014 AT 7:30 AM
U.S. retail sales rose 3.8 percent during the 2013 holiday season, compared with 3.5 percent last year, the National Retail Federation said on Tuesday. The disappointing showing reflected on the extent of discounting retailers resorted to as consumers held back spending amid an uneven economic recovery. The data, based on U.S. government figures, was just shy of the 3.9 percent rise NRF forecast in October. The deepest discounts offered since the recession attracted shoppers, but also hit retailers' profits. Total sales rose to $601.9 billion in the months of November and December.