Cash Registers a-Ringing?
By Jesse Freund

(Business 2.0) – When the Commerce Department releases its retail sales report on Dec. 13, we'll get our first glimpse at holiday spending patterns. For the season, analysts are calling for shoppers to shell out 5 percent more than last year—a nice jump but still 35 percent below 2003's 7.6 percent growth. With wages rising a meager 2.9 percent during the current recovery and heating costs likely to be 30 percent higher this winter, disappointing holiday spending could signal cold consumer sentiment in the months ahead.