NRF projects growth for retail industry

NEW YORK — Retail industry sales are expected to rise, albeit not at the same pace as 2011, according to the National Retail Federation.

Retail industry sales will rise 3.4% to $2.53 trillion, NRF said, compared with a pace of 4.7% in the year-ago period. The expected slowdown in consumer spending, NRF said, will be influenced by a number of factors, including stalled unemployment rate and lack of newly-created jobs. But despite the lower projection, the industry is expected to garner stronger numbers than other industries, NRF said.

“Over the last 18 months, retailers have been on the forefront of the economic recovery — creating jobs, encouraging consumer spending, and investing in America,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Our 2012 forecast is a vote of confidence in the retail industry and our ability to succeed even in a challenging economy. Retailers have played a key role in driving growth, but to continue this momentum we need Washington to act on proposals that will spur job creation and unleash the power of the private sector.”

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