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NRF Forecasts Holiday Sales Increase of 2.8%

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The National Retail Federation has announced some positive economic news on Thursday, forecasting a holiday sales increase of 2.8 percent, to $365.6 billion.

Although the numbers are still significantly lower than the 5.2-percent increase retailers experienced last year, the report remains encouraging.

“Retailers are optimistic that a combination of strong promotions and lean inventory levels will help them address consumer caution this holiday season,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “While businesses remain concerned over the viability of the economic recovery, there is no doubt that the retail industry is in a better position this year to handle consumer uncertainty than it was in 2008 and 2009.”

According to the NRF, retailers are also expected to hire an estimated 480,000-500,000 seasonal employees this year. This is actually quite comparable to the 495,000 employees hired last year.

Although there have been 14 consecutive months of retail sales growth, continued consumer uncertainty over the stock market, jobs and food and gas prices remain. These concerns are expected to affect the holiday season’s spending statistics.

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