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U.S. retailers put a bow on a positive 2010 and registered their best performance in five years according to preliminary reports released on Monday.

Holiday sales jumped 5.5 percent as consumers returned to retailers across the board including high-end Macy’s Inc. (M), Tiffany's (TIF). and Bloomingdale's.

Consumers were out in full forces at most every chain and also increased their spending on the Web. Their spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the U.S. economy, is a further positive sign for a sustained recovery heading into 2011.

"Increasing confidence has freed up more money from savings," said Michael McNamara, a vice president at New York-based SpendingPulse. "We are seeing this momentum building and being sustained."

Apparel sales grew the fastest in the 50 days before Christmas, with an 11 percent gain, more than 10 times the pace of last year.

Reports just before Christmas showed that consumer confidence climbed in December to the highest level in six months and that U.S. jobless claims continue to fall with job openings on the rise.

Source: Retailers Put a Bow on a Positive 2010