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  • ** FILE ** In this Friday, Nov. 25, 2011, file photo, a checkout line winds through a Best Buy store as shoppers take advantage of a midnight Black Friday sale on Friday, Nov. 25, 2011, in Brentwood, Tenn. The National Retail Federation, the nation's largest retail trade group, said Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012, that it expects sales during the winter holiday shopping period in November and December to rise 4.1 percent this year. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

    Holiday sales seen rising 4.1 percent in 2012

    Americans are expected to spend more during what's traditionally the busiest shopping season of the year, but they're not exactly ready to shop 'til they drop like they have been in the past two years.

  • A checkout line is backed up at a Best Buy store during a midnight Black Friday sale in Brentwood, Tenn., on Nov. 25, 2011. Holiday sales are expected to rise just 4.1 percent this year. Increases were 5.6 percent in 2010 and 5.5. percent in 2011. (Associated Press)

    Strained smiles over holiday outlook

    Americans are expected to spend more during what's traditionally the busiest shopping season of the year, but they're not exactly ready to shop 'til they drop as they did the past two years.

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