The article below from the AP is another in what has been a stream of positive stories about holiday retail sales, with one industry analyst saying “it’s the first normal Christmas in three years.”

Here are a few sales figures from the October 31 through December 18, 2010 time period as compared to the same period a year ago:

Clothing – up 9.8%
Jewelry – up 2.6%
Furniture – up 3.4%

On the other hand, “… spending is still below pre-recession levels in many categories… furniture is about 20 percent below the level before the Great Recession, while luxury and jewelry sales are about 10 percent below the peak before the big downturn. Clothing sales are recovering faster.”

As for online sales, shoppers have spent $27.46 billion online since November 1 (through December 17), up 12% from the same time period last year.

Shoppers Crowd the Malls in Christmas Countdown