Sandy knocks off big chunk of retail sales

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Newly released figures indicate that Superstorm Sandy erased nearly $4 billion of retail sales last week in the hard-hit Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region. That's about one-fifth of the usual total.

MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse says the region, which accounts for about 24 percent of retail sales nationwide, typically generates nearly $19 billion in sales for the week ended Saturday. But revenue came in at about $15 billion. The figures exclude auto sales.

That dragged down the nationwide sales total for the week ended Saturday. Nationwide, retailers typically generates $78 billion in sales for that particular week, an official estimates the total ended up being about $74 billion.

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