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New York -- Total holiday retail sales increased 3% to $579.8 billion, below the National Retail Federation s projected forecast of 4.1%. Non-store holiday sales grew 11%, below the 12% growth forecast by Shop.org. (The NRF sales figures exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants.)
“For over six months, we’ve been saying that the fiscal cliff and economic uncertainty could impact holiday sales. As the number shows, these issues had a visible impact on consumer spending this holiday season,” said Matthew Shay, CEO, NRF.
Heading into 2013, consumers could continue to think twice about making discretionary purchases, warned NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz.
In related news, December retail sales increased 0.5% seasonally adjusted month-to-month, and increased 4.7% adjusted year-over-year, according to figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Commerce.