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Holiday $ales Were $ensational

In America's stores Monday, the cash register was the great dividing line. On one side, there were those returning or exchanging. On the other, retailers were counting up a glorious holiday run -- $185 billion of merchandise sold this season. That's up 6-1/2 percent from last year, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Axelrod.

"Everything went right," said Pam Rucker. "All the factors that retailers look to when trying to determine if consumers are going to spend really are in cosmic alignment," said Pamela Rucker of the National Retail Federation.

If traditional retailers are celebrating a 6-1/2 percent jump, imagine the e-tailers. Online shopping doubled, if not tripled, this year, to between $8 billion and $9 billion. Of course, success doesn't come without a price tag of its own.

It turns out there was a dark side to the bright new trend. Only some stores let you buy online and return on site. Some e-tailers with no stores set strict time limits and require items unopened, in original packaging. Others charge restocking fees.

"What you found was Internet retailers spending on branding and getting their names out there. And perhaps, not spending enough time and effort on customer service," Rucker said.

Which will give e-tailers something to shoot for next year. Of course, this year isn't over yet.

"The week after Christmas is very important. It accounts for approximately 11 percent of all holiday sales," said retail analyst Dana Telsey.

So pardon the retailers unable to focus on any problems. The dollar signs fogging their eyes right now might make it hard to see.

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