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NRF Boosts Holiday Forecast

WASHINGTON - The National Retail Federation today raised its forecast for holiday spending and now expects year-over-year sales to rise 3.8% to $469.1 billion.
     NRF's initial forecast, announced Oct. 6, anticipated sales growth of 2.8%. While a 3.8% sales increase is above the 10-year average sales increase of 2.6%, it is still lower than the 5.2% increase the retail industry saw last year.
     "After strong sales reports in October and November, along with a successful Black Friday weekend, retailers are cautiously optimistic that this season will turn out better than initially expected, bringing added stability to our recovering economy at a time when America needs it most," said Matthew Shay, NRF president and ceo. "However, a number of factors, including the debt crisis in Europe and continued political wrangling in Washington, could impact consumer spending this holiday season and into 2012."
    Last week , the organization announced that retail industry sales for November rose 4.5% year-over-year. In addition, NRF's most recent holiday survey found the average American has completed far less of their holiday shopping than in previous years - an indication that many shoppers bought for themselves in November and have plenty of holiday shopping left to do.

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