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NRF predicts historically slow holiday in 2007

Washington -- The National Retail Federation today released its forecast for the upcoming 2007 holiday season, predicting that sales will rise 4.0% this year to $474.5 billion.

That sales increase would fall below the 10-year average of 4.8%, representing the slowest holiday sales growth since 2002, when sales rose 1.3%.

“Retailers are in for a somewhat challenging holiday season as consumers are faced with numerous economic obstacles,” said NRF chief economist Rosalind Wells. “With the weak housing market and current credit crunch, consumers will be forced to be more prudent with their holiday spending.”
  
Luxury retailers once again are expected to carry on as usual, their customers having previously demonstrated the ability to maintain high levels of spending. “Clearly the retailers most affected by the economy will be those catering to the low to middle income consumer. This could spell trouble for discounters and some department stores whose shoppers may be looking to trade down,” according to the NRF.
 
NRF will release its first in a series of holiday surveys on October 16, polling consumers on where they will shop and how much they plan to spend.
 
NRF defines “holiday retail sales” as retail industry sales in the months of November and December. Sales include most traditional retail categories including discounters, department stores, grocery stores, and specialty stores, and exclude sales at automotive dealers, gas stations, and restaurants.

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