The nation's retailers scored their best holiday season since 2006, but uneven spending and snowstorms on the East Coast disrupted December sales, which came in below expectations.

Major chain stores posted a 3.1 percent year-over-year sales increase last month, according to Thomson Reuters' tally of 28 retailers. That was slightly below the 3.4 percent gain that analysts had expected and a surprising disappointment, given earlier reports from MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse and other groups that pointed to strong consumer spending for the month.

Results are based on sales at stores open at least a year, known as same-store sales.

The mixed results included a 15 percent increase at Abercrombie & Fitch Co., an 11.8 percent gain at Saks Inc. and an 11 percent decline at American Eagle Outfitters Inc.

Still, retail analysts maintained that the results were still respectable, especially after two difficult Christmas seasons that saw consumers dramatically pull back on spending.

Los Angeles Times

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