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Holiday retail sales increased 5.5 percent in 2017, showing strongest gain since Great Recession

Holiday sales during November and December increased 5.5 percent over the same period in 2016 to $691.9 billion as growing wages, stronger employment and higher confidence led consumers to spend more than had been expected, the National Retail Federation said today. The number, which excludes restaurants, automobile dealers and gasoline stations, includes $138.4 billion in online and other non-store sales, which were up 11.5 percent over the year before.

Harbor Hospice to open new in-patient facility in Jasper

Harbor Hospice is expanding its footprint to the Jasper area. The hospice care provider is building a new, 13,367-square-foot in-patient facility at 1440 FM 777 in Jasper.

According to the Harbor Hospice, construction began in January 2017 and is expected to be completed this spring. The contractor for the job is BEGA Design + Construction out of Houston. According to the city of Jasper, the cost of the project is $600,000.

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