A final sales tally from the season will not be available from most chains until next week. But an early projection from MasterCard Advisors, a unit of the credit card company, found that overall spending from Nov. 23 to Dec. 24, when adjusted for inflation, was essentially unchanged over last year, a weak performance.Given the uncertainties in the proper measure of inflation to use, this is probably OK. In reality, I think the MasterCard projection probably shows a small decrease in sales compared to last year, but depending on how you calculate things it might turn out to be pretty close to zero.
As for myself, I have no data to offer on holiday sales, but I do have an anecdote. I went out to a gigantic new local shopping center today and business was.....normal. I had no trouble parking, no trouble walking right into the movie theater (Charlie Wilson's War, flawed but still lots of fun), and the crowds at Borders, Best Buy, and Whole Foods seemed about like normal Saturday levels.
Leave your own anecdotes in comments. Leave enough of them, and perhaps they'll magically morph into data.