The trade group forecast that holiday sales this year would be “average” and that they would likely grow less than last year's sales.
“On the heels of a holiday season that outperformed most analysts’ expectations, holiday retail sales for 2011 are expected to increase 2.8% to $465.6 billion,” the NRF said.
“While that growth is far lower than the 5.2% increase retailers experienced last year, it is slightly higher than the 10-year average holiday sales increase of 2.6 percent,” the association added.
“Retailers are optimistic that a combination of strong promotions and lean inventory levels will help them address consumer caution this holiday season,” said NRF 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,” Shay said.