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NRF Forecasts 4.0% Increase in Retail Sales for 2011

For Immediate Release
Kathy Grannis (202)783-7971

NRF Forecasts 4.0% Increase in Retail Sales for 2011
-Retailers Lead the Recovery despite High Unemployment/Legislative Uncertainties

Washington, February 17, 2011 – The National Retail Federation released its 2011 economic forecast today, projecting retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) will increase 4.0 percent from 2010. The cautiously optimistic outlook comes on the heels of seven consecutive months of retail sales growth and better than expected holiday sales.

With retailers ending last year on a strong note, thanks to robust holiday spending figures, the prospects for economic growth are starting to look better. However, with small businesses continuing to hold back on hiring and expansion plans and consumers facing higher energy costs, questions remain about the speed and strength of the retail spending momentum. 

“With retailers leading the charge, the economic recovery appears to be gaining some steam,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “The fate of the Main Street resurgence ultimately rests with policymakers on Capitol Hill. As Congress begins tackling key issues like deficit reduction and tax reform, it is critical we support policies that encourage job creation, consumption and business investment.”

According to NRF’s latest Retail Sales Outlook report, while consumers are once again showing a willingness to spend, inflation from rising commodity prices and continued high unemployment could become obstacles to economic growth.

The report is available free to NRF members and for a fee to non-member companies.

As the world's largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, the National Retail Federation's global membership includes retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution as well as chain restaurants and industry partners from the U.S. and more than 45 countries abroad. In the U.S., NRF represents the breadth and diversity of an industry with more than 1.6 million American companies that employ nearly 25 million workers and generated 2010 sales of $2.4 trillion.