U.S. holiday sales up 3.8 pct - National Retail Federation

NEW YORK Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:23am EST

NEW YORK Jan 14 (Reuters) - 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. Several major retailers last week slashed profit forecasts and blamed all the promotions they offered.

They also had to contend with a drop in the number of visits shoppers paid to stores: data firm ShopperTrak last week said shopper traffic fell 14.6 percent the season.

Total sales rose to $601.9 billion in the months of November and December. The industry body had previously estimated sales to rise to $602.1 billion.

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