NRF boosts holiday forecast

Sales now expected to rise 3.8%

WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation is putting its faith in the holidays by upgrading its spending forecast for the season.

After initially anticipating sales growth of 2.8%, the NRF said it now expects holiday sales to rise 3.8% to $469.1 billion. The projection may be lower than the 5.2% increase the retail industry saw last year, but the group said a number of factors, such as strong year-over-year sales and the fact that not all consumers have completed their holiday shopping lists, could provide the industry with a great gift after all.

“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,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “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.”

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