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2010 holiday retail sales expected to rise 2.3%

Holiday retail sales are expected to increase 2.3%, a marked improvement from last year's 0.4% uptick and the dismal 3.9% holiday sales decline retailers experienced in 2008, according to the National Retail Federation.

"Though the retail industry is on stronger footing than last year, companies are closely watching key economic indicators like employment and consumer confidence before getting too optimistic that the recession is behind them," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said.

The NRF expects retailers to continue focusing on supply chain efficiencies and inventory control this holiday season to limit their exposure to excess merchandise and unplanned markdowns. Companies are also expected to offer
significant promotions and leverage new channels - like mobile - to drive sales and provide added service to customers who want to shop anytime, anywhere.

"While consumers have shown they are once again willing to spend on what's important to them, they will still be very conscientious about price," said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz, Ph.D. "Retailers are expected to compensate for this fundamental shift in shopper mentality by offering significant promotions throughout the holiday season and emphasizing value throughout their marketing efforts."

NRF's holiday sales forecast is based on an economic model using several indicators including employment, industrial production, disposable personal
income and previous monthly retail sales reports. Holiday sales are defined as retail industry sales in the months of November and December. Retail industry sales discounters, department, grocery and specialty stores, and exclude sales at automotive dealers, gas stations, and restaurants.

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