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tv television shopping black friday

David McNew/Reuters

An employee scans television purchases during Black Friday sales at a Best Buy store in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 25, 2016.

The Commerce Department will release its monthly report on retail sales at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Economists forecast that retail sales increased by 0.7% month-on-month in December, according to Bloomberg.

Higher gas prices and strong auto sales , which were at a record level in 2016, are expected to lift overall retail sales. But excluding these two volatile categories, so-called core retail sales are estimated to rise by 0.4%.

"There are only two other episodes (for which we have data) where Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve fell on a Saturday," Bank of America Merrill Lynch economists said in a preview. "Although it is a very small sample, we look at the trend in Census Bureau retail sales for these years to help understand the potential risks for the Census data on Friday.

"We find that the actual release (as-reported) surprised to the downside relative to the consensus and the prior three-month average. It is hard to draw hard conclusions given the small sample, but there is some history for a weak December retail sales report in years with the same calendar quirk."

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