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STATE'S RETAIL SALES IMPROVING

Holiday shoppers boosted retail sales across New York state this past week, especially for items such as video equipment, small appliances and "Go-Go Pup" dolls, a retail group announced Tuesday.

The Retail Council of New York State reported in its latest "Holiday Sales Watch" that aggregate sales were up from 3 to 5 percent Dec. 10-17 compared with the same week last year.

"Shopping activity is indeed getting stronger," said council president and CEO James Quaremba. "The malls are crowded and merchants outside of the malls generally are reporting good traffic and increased sales."

Among other "hot" holiday items for the past week: Nintendo, board games, jewelry, calendars, compact disc players, computer software, leather bomber jackets and women's boots.

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