WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation released its 2012 holiday forecast on Tuesday, which shows sales increasing 4.1% to $586.1 billion, down from last year's 5.6% growth.
However, the NRF's 2012 estimate tops the 10-year holiday sales growth average of 3.5%.
"This is the most optimistic forecast NRF has released since the recession. In spite of the uncertainties that exist in our economy and among consumers, we believe we'll see solid holiday sales growth this year," NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. "Variables including an upcoming presidential election, confusion surrounding the 'fiscal cliff' and concern relating to future economic growth could all combine to affect consumers' spending plans, but overall we are optimistic that retailers promotions will hit the right chord with holiday shoppers."
Recent government data released show a crosscurrent of indicators that could impact holiday sales, including unimpressive job and income growth and a