US DATA: Redbook for Dec 17 wk: “By the end of the week, retailers
started gearing up for the expected pre-Christmas rush, which includes
an extra day this year. The most positive development was a pickup in
seasonal business as falling temperatures stimulated sales of winter
apparel and other cold weather items. Seasonal sales may also have been
lubricated by price reduction; retailers have selectively marked down
outerwear and other winter items, in additional to preplanned
promotional discounts. Sales were also influenced by the beginning of
Hanukkah on December 20th.”

Year-over-year: Week (w/e 12/17/11 vs year-ago) 3.4%
Year-over-year: Month (December 2011 vs December 2010) 3.2%
Month-over-month: (December 2011 vs November 2011) -2.7%