AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: John Jackson greets a Christmas that he wasn’t sure he’d see NEW YORK – Retail sales surged in the last days before Christmas but not as much as expected, two reports confirmed Wednesday, putting more pressure on stores to get shoppers to open their wallets in the final days of December. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, same-store sales rose 2 percent for the week ended Saturday compared with the previous week. Same-store sales rose 1.7 percent compared with the year-ago period. Same-store sales are sales at stores open at least a year and are considered the industry standard for measuring a retailer’s health. Based on results so far, Michael P. Niemira, chief economist at the International Council of Shopping Centers, now believes that same-store sales growth will be at the low end of his already reduced range of 2.5 percent to 3 percent for the November-December period. He noted that the 2006 holiday season has been hard to read, with a number of factors affecting sales. They range from mild weather that dampened sales of winter items like heavy coats and gloves to a quirk in the calendar – a full weekend before Christmas Day, he said. But Niemira said he is counting on the throngs of shoppers who are returning to stores this week to redeem their gift cards to help salvage the season. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!