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U.S. National Retail Federation forecasts 3.4% rise in sales this year

U.S. National Retail Federation forecasts 3.4% rise in sales this year
The U.S. National Retail Federation has released an updated retail sales forecast for this year in which it sees an increase of 3.4 percent compared with a preliminary projection it published last year of a 4.2 percent rise for 2013.
Lower than expected spending by consumers in the 2012 Christmas holiday season, which were battered by political disputes between President Obama and the Congressional Republican Party, were likely to continue in 2013, the NRF said in a statement.

“What we witnessed during the holiday season is an indication of what we are likely to see in 2013,” says NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Consumers read troubling economic headlines every day and look at their bottom lines at the end of the month, and they don’t like what they see.

“Pushing fiscal policy decisions further down the road will lead to even greater uncertainty, and will continue to impact consumers’ desire and ability to spend on discretionary items. The [Obama] administration and Congress need to pursue and enact policies that lead to growth and economic expansion, or it could be another challenging year for retailers and consumers alike,” he adds.

Shay said retailers were expected to make up for lower sales by concentrating on managing their inventories better, putting more of a focus on providing customers with extra value for money, and promotions both in-store and online.

The NRF also predicts inflation will be kept in check, with the price index climbing to 1.9 percent this year compared with 2.1 percent in 2012.

In addition, consumer confidence will rise “as the pace of the recovery accelerates in the second half of 2013.”

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