Despite supply issues and Omicron, holiday sales increase 8.5%



By PAUL WISEMAN and ANNE D’INNOCENZIO, AP Business Editors

Holiday sales grew at the fastest rate in 17 years, even as shoppers grappled with higher prices, product shortages and a new COVID-19 variant raging in the final weeks of the season , based on a measure of expenditure.

Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks all kinds of payments including cash and debit cards, reported on Sunday that holiday sales were up 8.5% from the previous year.

MasterCard SpendingPulse expected an 8.8% increase. The results covered from November 1 to December 24.

They were fueled by purchases of clothing and jewelry. Holiday sales increased 10.7% from the pre-pandemic 2019 holiday season.

33 photos that show why you wish you were at this Monitor Lizard Christmas party in Bangkok

Guardians and monitor lizard enthusiasts gather on Christmas Day at a Bangkok restaurant to share their often controversial love for the monitor lizard. While many agree that they are generally shy by nature and will stay away from human beings – unless raised by them – they can be aggressive when provoked or starved – especially in nature.

It’s a day of fun, food and drink (for lizards and their human caregivers) and prizes.

There are about 80 species of monitor lizards known on Earth today, and most are considered poisonous. According to the Singapore National Parks Agency, this venom generally has a “relatively mild effect on (humans).”

Top 5 local sports stories of 2021

Many local sports stories shed light on 2021, including a few firsts. Here’s a look at the Top Five, plus a bonus story.

Incredible nostalgic photos of Uptown Utica

Check out this impressive collection of photos showing what Uptown Utica looked like. It’s amazing to remember the companies that were there.

25 Simple Additions To Make Your Backyard A Little More Like A Resort Vacation

The pandemic and the 2020 shutdown stranded people in their homes and no one was traveling. Many people have taken the extra time to turn their own backyards into a summer oasis, even though in the northeast summer weather is only 3 months.

Here are some pretty easy ways to make it look like you’re on vacation in your backyard.


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