Retail projected to increase 3.8%; S&P500 back in positive territory for ’11

Retail advocacy groups say there will be a late shopping push this holiday season as the National Retail Federation and ShopperTrak both raised their projections for annual holiday season retail gains to 3.8 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively. November same-store sales rose 3.2 percent this year compared to 2010.

Also, if you think that the weather doesn’t have a say in holiday sales, think again: analysts have said that the mild weather so far this year has paved the way for strong sales. (Neat feature on how UPS monitors how weather systems affect its shipments worldwide).

Finally, the S&P 500 would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a generally-cheerful holiday season: With early gains today, the index is back in the positive for 2011. (Better late than never!)

From yours truly, have wonderful and blessed Christmas!