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NRF adjusts forecast for holidays

The National Retail Federation has revised its holiday forecast in light of the terrorist attacks that took place on Sept. 11.

According to the NRF's forthcoming Retail Sales Outlook report, sales growth for GAF (general merchandise, apparel, furniture, home furnishings, electronics and appliance stores) for the fourth quarter has been amended to 2.2 percent, compared to the previously forecasted 4.0 percent. The NRF also predicts 2001 holiday retail sales to increase 2.5 percent to 3.0 percent.

"Since the terrorist attacks are so fresh and our country's response is not yet known, it is premature to make definitive judgments about the economy," said Rosalind Wells, chief economist. "We can only speculate based upon what we think the [Bush] administration will do and how the consumers will respond."

Wells added, "Recession remains a possibility. However, we feel that the strong underpinnings of the U.S. economy and the resilience of the U.S. consumer will force the stalling growth over the next few months to give way to a rebound beginning next year."

NRF members have noted that consumers are out shopping, though their purchases focus on the essentials. "With a few notable exceptions, such as American flags, consumers are currently focusing on basics, buying out of necessity, not desire," said Tracy Mullin, president and ceo.

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