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According to government data released this week, businesses classified as hardware stores showed gains for the month of December and the full year of 2011.
The U.S. Census Bureau's Monthly Retail Trade Report for December 2011 -- the latest month of available data for hardware stores in the NAICS 44413 classification -- hit $1.777 billion on an unadjusted basis. That's up from $1.732 billion in November.
The unadjusted full-year sales for NAICS 44413 rose to $20.21 billion, up from $19.27 billion in 2010.
The full-year 2011 figure was the highest since 2008, when hardware store sales were $20.26 billion.