Tidings Of Profit And Joy

Just how good a Christmas season will retailers ring up? According to Peter Appert, an analyst at Alex. Brown & Sons, a highly reliable clue is the amount of gift wrapping that merchants themselves buy in the months just prior to the holiday. This year, he reports, gift-wrap shipments indicate that fourth-quarter sales of clothing and other nondurable items will be up about 6.2%--a generous increase over the 4.6% sales gain wrapped up last year.

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