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Forecast: Rebound in 2010

Retailers must brace for a 2009 of slower sales, according to analysis by TNS Retail Forward of U.S. Commerce Department data.

2009 sales growth is projected "to approach 2% growth compared with the 2.3% average growth for 2008 through November," TNS said. The data sets exclude automobile and gasoline sales.

The retail consultancy "anticipates a rebound to occur in 2010 and gain momentum through 2013, when annual increases in sales will again approach the 5% average growth rate of the past 10 years." Even those gains — when adjusted for inflation — will remain below average, TNS noted.

"Homegoods channels will experience the strongest decline in sales in 2009," the research firm said, with more robust sales growth expected to restart in 2010.

Of department stores and apparel chains, the forecast was for "a strong recovery in 2010 before improving sales growth in each of the next three years." Still, they are likely to lag supercenters, warehouse clubs and e-commerce/catalog retailers.

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