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NRF Lowers Retail Sales Forecast

The National Retail Federation (NRF) lowered its 2014 retail sales forecast today from 4.1 percent to 3.6 percent, largely due to slow growth recorded during the first half of the year.

NRF found that sales grew 2.9 percent during the first half, but are expected to grow at least 3.9 percent during the second half, indicating a stronger forecast for the remainder of 2014.

“No retailer was immune to the doldrums witnessed during the first quarter, and as a result, the year’s growth trajectory was impacted,” said NRF President/CEO Matthew Shay. “That said, there is plenty of evidence that the second half of the year will be better for the industry as consumers begin to feel more optimistic about their spending decisions."

NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz attributed the sales dip to severe weather in Q1, weak numbers in the real estate market, and hampered inventories and exports. Yet, according to Kleinhenz, employment is up, and stronger business and consumer confidence and manufacturing activity will likely contribute to improved second and third quarters.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries.

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