HOLIDAY SHOPPING UPDATE….So how’s business this Christmas? Here’s the Washington Post:

“The holiday season is shaping up to be the strongest since 1999,” said Michael P. Niemira, chief economist for the council. That year, sales for the November-December period grew 5.4 percent. “We’ve turned the corner.”

And here’s the Los Angeles Times:

Retail experts still expect 2003 to be the strongest holiday sales season since 1999, but “that’s not saying much,” said Michael Niemira, chief economist and research director of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

The bizarre part is that it’s the same guy in both quotes. Did he tell the Post “We’ve turned the corner” in a fit of morning giddiness and then turn gloomy later in the day when the Times called him?

Anyway, for what it’s worth, both papers agree that retail sales rose 5.7% last week in stores open more than a year. I guess you’ll have to decide for yourself whether that’s good news.