Retail sales, as measured by the Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index and released Tuesday, rose 3.8% in the third week of December after a 2.5% gain the previous week. For the month to date, December sales were 3.3% above the same period of 2009.

Meanwhile, weekly chain store sales jumped 1.7% in the week that ended on "Super Saturday" — Dec. 18 — one of the busiest shopping days of the year, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Snapshot released Tuesday.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.