ATLANTA (AP) - Last-minute shoppers crowded into malls and stores to scoop up discounted clothing and toys during the last weekend before Christmas, but many didn't seem to be in the spending spirit.
This holiday season, Americans have a lot on their minds on top of the now familiar job worries.
Consumers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, which account for 24 percent of retail sales nationwide, were tripped up by Superstorm Sandy. The storm hit in late October and disrupted businesses and households for several weeks.
Shoppers are also increasingly worried about the fast approaching "fiscal cliff" deadline - the possibility that a stalemate between Congress and the White House over the U.S. budget could trigger a series of tax increases and spending cuts starting Jan. 1. Confidence among U.S. consumers dropped to its lowest point in December since July because of growing concerns about the economy, according to a monthly index released Friday.