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Holiday Sales To Slip 1%: NRF

Washington – Continued consumer
uncertainty over job security and housing values will contribute to a 1 percent
decline in total retail sales this holiday season, according to a forecast by
the National Retail Federation (NRF).

The projected decline, to $437.6 billion, will
anniversary last year’s 3.4 percent drop in holiday revenue, the industry trade
group said.

NRF’s projection includes sales at discount,
specialty, department and grocery stores in November and December, and excludes
sales at car dealers, gas stations and restaurants.

The forecast falls significantly below the 10-year
average of 3.4 percent holiday season growth, but will be less severe than the 3
percent decline in annual retail revenue expected for all of

“As the global economy continues to recover from the
worst economic crisis most retailers have ever seen, Americans will focus
primarily on practical gifts and shop on a budget this holiday season,” said NRF
chief economist Rosalind Wells.

The trade group also predicted price deflation in CE
and other popular holiday categories due to aggressive sales as retailers become
even more promotional.

“The expectation of another challenging holiday season
does not come as news to retailers, who have been experiencing a pullback in
consumer spending for over a year,” noted NRF president/CEO Tracy Mullin. “To
compensate, retailers’ focus on the holiday season has been razor-sharp, with
companies cutting back as much as possible on operating costs in order to pass
along aggressive savings and promotions to customers.”