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Holiday Sales To Rise 2.3%: NRF

Washington – Holiday
retail sales will increase 2.3 percent this year, to $447.1 billion, the
National Retail Federation said.

Such an increase would
mark an improvement from both 2009 and 2008, which saw a 0.4 percent increase
and a 3.9 percent decrease, respectively, the group said.

“While many consumers
will be wishing for apparel and electronics this holiday season, retailers are
hoping the holidays bring sustainable economic growth,” said Matthew Shay, NRF
president and CEO, in a statement. “Though the retail industry is on stronger
footing than last year, companies are closely watching key economic indicators
like employment and consumer confidence before getting too optimistic that the
recession is behind them.”

Retailers are expected
to focus on supply-chain efficiencies and inventory control this holiday season
to limit their exposure to excess merchandise and unplanned markdowns, NRF

Not surprisingly,
consumers will once again pay strong attention prices. Jack Kleinhenz, NRF
chief economist, expected retailers to compensate for this by offering “significant
promotions throughout the holiday season and emphasizing value throughout their
marketing efforts.”

NRF bases its holiday
sales forecast on such indicators as employment, industrial production, disposable
personal income and previous monthly retail sales reports.