Thomson Financial News - After a very slow start, the Christmas rush finally kicked-in in the last ten days of shopping. But a lot of that was driven by discounting, good for customers, but bad for those retailers who've seen their margins squeezed in a crucial month. Overall, retail sales will certainly be up on last year but, with customers' finances under more pressure than 12 months ago, retailers will have done well to beat last Decembers year-on-year growth of 2.5 pct.