NRF forecasts jump in retail sales

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Retailers could experience a reversal of fortune this year as The National Retail Federation expects U.S. retail sales to jump 2.5 percent during 2010.
Economic improvement, including an improving housing market and declining unemployment, will bolster consumer confidence throughout the year according to the NRF’s bi-monthly Retail Sales Outlook.
The news comes as a welcome surprise for the nation’s store owners, who watched retails decline 2.5 percent during 2009.
Rosalind Wells, chief economist for the retail trade group, figures U.S. shoppers will continue to be frugal with their discretionary spending, but that retailers will soon be able to garner the benefits of leaner inventories and 18 months of constricted consumer demand.
Holiday sales for 2009 could be looked at as a precursor to 2010 spending. U.S. sales rose 1.1 percent for the November-December time frame compared to a year earlier. Also, the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose to 55.9 in January, its highest level since September 2008.
The NRF’s retail figures exclude auto, gasoline and restaurant spending.