This question tests you on a slight variation of the "as much as" sentence structure. In this case, the few words immediately before the underlined portion of the sentence include "as much because...X..." - so here the question is how does rest of the sentence need to be constructed.
Notice the "as much because" part is not underlined. That means that part of the sentence is fixed so we cannot change that part of the sentence. Given that we need to stick with these three words in the beginning of this phrase, how must we word the remaining portion of the sentence that fits this given phrase?
Meaning-wise the sentence talks about business performance towards the end of the year in December. There's some slight comparison made to the performance last year and how that has impacted customers' behaviors.
source: GMAT Pill
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