Big Macs, Pretty Colors Console Nervous Shoppers

The Times told us not to spread panic, but it's part of our evil blogger DNA, so here goes: While other restaurants were flailing, McDonald's reports that its same-store sales rose 4.5 percent in November, with much of the growth coming from breakfast items, chicken sandwiches, and value menu items.

Also, market research firm NPD Group tells USA Today that "while economic woes have begun to limit spending nationwide, color is one retail area not suffering." We thought at first that they meant cosmetics, but no -- they mean pretty colors on things, like electronics, luggage, and dishes. It's "the one area where consumers are saying, 'I'm going to indulge,'" says an NPD spokesman.

One possible reason why people might be tight with a buck this season: online travel agent Orbitz reports that its top holiday weekend destination this year -- up from number seven in 2007 -- was Las Vegas.

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