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NRF projects 4.1% growth for holiday 2012

Washington - The National Retail Federation is forecasting a boost to holiday sales of 4.1% year-over-year, better than the 10-year average holiday sales gain of 3.5%. NRF's Shop.org division expects online sales for November and December to jump 12% this year on top of last year's 15% growth.

Total holiday sales are projected to reach $586.1 billion, with ecommerce accounting for $96 billion of the pie.

"This is the most optimistic forecast NRF has released since the recession. In spite of the uncertainties that exist in our economy and among consumers, we believe we'll see solid holiday sales growth this year," said NRF president and ceo Matthew Shay.

NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz described the forecast as pragmatic, adding: "There's still some general anxiety amongst consumers when it comes to how the state of the economy is impacting their spending plans, but retailers can expect to see excitement around their promotions and plenty of bargain hunters both online and in stores in the coming months."

Last year, NRF originally projected a modest holiday sales increase of 2.8%, then raised its guidance to 3.8% after the shopping season got underway. Actual holiday sales grew 5.6%.

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