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              Black Friday, the first official day of the holiday
         shopping season, saw that "despite the robust nature of the
         economy, most people were hunting for bargains and giving
         cold shoulders to a lot of things that were not marked down"
         (Jennifer Steinhauer, N.Y. TIMES, 11/29).  In L.A., George
         White reported that shopper turnout Friday "was up" 5-10%
         nationally.  White: "However, despite the strong turnouts in
         some locations, not everyone was buying heavily.  Sales
         appeared to be up only slightly over last year, and much of
         the increase was generated by bargain hunters" (L.A. TIMES,
         11/29).  PBS's Suzanne Pratt said surveys showed that
         holiday sales should gain about 4.5% this year to around
         $162B ("NBR," 11/28).  Gerard Klauer Mattison, NY, retail
         analyst Tom Filandro: "We think there's a couple of trends
         happening in the marketplace which are favorable for the
         specialists in particular.  We think they will gain market
         share from department stores.  There's a lot of product
         innovation, brands are driving the business, and we strongly
         believe that we're in a fashion bottom cycle on the apparel
         front" (CNBC, 11/28).  Internet holiday sales are "expected"
         to top $1B for the first time ever (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/28). 

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