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Report: Sluggish Growth Seen for Holiday Sales

New York City, Holiday sales are expected to rise at their slowest pace in five years as the weak housing market and a credit crunch temper consumer spending, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said on Thursday.

Total holiday retail sales are forecast to rise 4% to $474.5 billion this year, the trade group said. According to the NRF, that would mark the slowest holiday sales growth since 2002, when sales rose 1.3%. It also would fall below the 10-year holiday sales average of a 4.8% increase.

Many retailers have already warned the second half of the year will be more difficult than the first as consumers confront a weaker housing market, and higher fuel and food costs.

Last year, holiday sales rose 4.4%, which was below the NRF’s initial forecast of a 5% gain, as unseasonably warm weather and the slower housing market crimped spending.

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