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    Retail Group Forecasts 2.5-Percent Gain in Retail Sales for 2010

    NRF economist expects more jobs, better housing market to boost consumer confidence.

    WASHINGON, D.C. -- The National Retail Federation (NRF) released its 2010 economic forecast yesterday, projecting retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) will increase 2.5 percent from last year. According to the NRF's quarterly Retail Sales Outlook, influential economic indicators such as the housing market and employment are beginning to show positive signs, which the association feels will bolster consumer confidence throughout the year. Retail sales for 2009 declined 2.5 percent.
    "As we continue to see signs of improvement throughout the U.S economy in 2010, overall sentiment will begin to lift, making way for slight increases in consumer spending," said NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells. "While we still expect shoppers to continue to be frugal with their discretionary spending, retailers will soon be able to reap the benefits of leaner, smarter inventories and a year and a half of pent up consumer demand."

    The NRF economist also sees positive economic contributions coming from trade activity, especially strong exports, a turnaround in the inventory cycle, and increased federal government spending. Consumer spending will lag behind overall economic growth, though, said Wells, but will continue to expand at a modest 2.0 percent to 2.5 percent rate.

    The NRF represents department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores and grocery stores as well as the key retail industry trading partners of goods and services.
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