Key facts about this holiday shopping season:
_ SPENDING: Holiday shoppers have brought retailers a mildly positive season.
Spending through Dec. 19 is tracking a little below the 1.6 percent growth forecast by ShopperTrak, a research firm that monitors sales and traffic at more than 50,000 outlets. Sales had been in line with modest expectations but were derailed by the winter storm that slammed the East Coast this past weekend.
Stores on making up the sales loss in the final surge in the days before Christmas.
_ DISCOUNTS: Retailers offered lots of aggressive promotions heading into the season.
However, they didn't order nearly as much merchandise as last year, so they didn't have cut prices drastically beyond what they had planned. Many shoppers with memories of last year were left waiting for 80 percent or 90 percent discounts that never came.
_ RETAILER PROFITS: Those low inventories should protect retailers' bottom lines, a big turnaround from a last year's bleak holidays that led prominent sellers like Circuit City Stores Inc. into bankruptcy.