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Holiday Shopping Season A Real Turkey

Like an overstuffed turkey, the holiday shopping season began sluggishly the day after Thanksgiving in Seattle and much of the rest of the nation, a check-acceptance company said Saturday.

Friday sales in Seattle were off by 13.7 percent compared to the same day last year, the worst decline in the country, said Houston-based TeleCheck Services Inc.

Nationally, sales were down 4.8 percent, in part because of an unfavorable comparison to 1994, when sales rose 5.7 percent.

The data are based on an annual same-store comparison of the dollar amount of checks written at 10,000 locations served by TeleCheck.

“Although some malls and stores had good sales, overall retail sales weren’t strong enough to beat the same day last year when holiday shopping to off to roaring start,” said William Ford, a senior economic adviser for the company.