Holiday ornaments, but not last-minute shoppers, filled malls as Christmas approached. Consumer sentiment plunged this month after hitting four-year highs in November, dampening sales for retailers despite deep discounts and other incentives. (Associated Press)

Holiday ornaments, but not last-minute shoppers, filled malls as Christmas approached. Consumer sentiment plunged this month after hitting four-year highs in November, dampening sales for retailers despite deep discounts and other incentives. (Associated Press)