RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
NPR's business news begins with disappointing holiday sales.
Holiday sales rose by less than 1 percent from the year before, according to MasterCard's SpendingPulse unit. That's the slowest growth in spending since the 2008 recession. Even online sales - which posted double digit gains over the past few years - were lackluster this year.
Analysts said Superstorm Sandy had a lot to do with the slump. Mid-Atlantic states hit hard by Sandy saw steep declines in sales, which in turn dragged down the national tally. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.