NEW YORK (AP) -- It turns out the gloomy economic predictions about this year's holiday sales were right.
Sales of clothing, especially expensive duds, were dismal, as were sales of appliances and electronics.
Preliminary figures released tonight by SpendingPulse show the weak economy, coupled with miserable holiday weather, brought total retail sales down anywhere from 5.5 to 8 percent from last year.
SpendingPulse is a division of MasterCard Advisors and keeps track of total purchases by cash, check and credit card.
Figures still due from the International Council of Shopping Center are expected to show their holiday sales were off by 1.5 to 2 percent from a year ago. That would make it the worst season since 1969.
We'll get a full picture of shopping results when major retailers release their sales results Jan. 8.