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Holiday sales face tough year-over-year comp

 

WASHINGTON -- Total holiday retail sales are expected to increase 5 percent over last year, bringing holiday spending to $435.3 billion, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). In comparison, holiday sales in 2004 rose 6.7 percent to $414.7 billion.

“A combination of many factors, including energy prices, the job market, disposable income, and consumer confidence, will ultimately affect retailers’ sales this holiday season,” said NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells.

One-fifth of retail industry sales (19.9 percent) occur during the holiday season, making it the most important time period of the year for the industry, according to the NRF. The effects of Hurricane Katrina and high prices at the pump play a role in the tempered outlook, the organization stated. However, NRF maintains that steady consumer spending and strong second and third quarter gains indicate potential for a solid holiday season.

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