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Holiday Sales Rise Above Last Year's

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'Twas the day before Christmas and all through the Mall, holiday sales were up 3.3 percent overall, according to the National Retail Federation's estimates.

Rebecca Perloff, a sales associate at retail store Laila Rowe at Montgomery Mall in Maryland, says she's seen that trend first hand.

"Sales are great this year. They're doing a lot better than last year. People are shopping," she says.

Did she expect that? "Not at all," Perloff says.

Maybe the extra sales are due shoppers like Juanita Johnson, who says things are looking up this year.

"For us, the employment situation has been better, so I'm spending a little more," she says.

Online sales are up even more than those in the stores. Amy Beam only went to the White Flint Mall Friday to get "the things I couldn't get online. I abhor shopping malls. And I'm only here out of desperation."

Not all stores report improvements -- though the malls are expected to remain busy over the next few weeks as consumers look for sales and make returns.

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