Shopping bag pink -by londoninflames FlickrAmerican consumers spent enough in December to lift sales to a record level for 2011. It marked the largest annual increase in consumer spending in more than a decade.

The Commerce Department said Thursday it was the second straight month that sales topped $400 billion. Never before had monthly sales reached that level.

For all of 2011, sales totaled a record $4.7 trillion, a gain of nearly 8 percent over 2010. It was the largest percentage increase since 1999.

(READ the full AP story in St. Louis Today)

Photo by londoninflames Flickr- CC

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