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NRF: Holiday 2012 sales forecast to rise 4.1%, down from last year’s growth

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Washington, D.C. — 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,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “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 shows a crosscurrent of indicators that could impact holiday sales, including unimpressive job and income growth and an unemployment rate stuck at eight percent. However, positive indicators are emerging that show a cautious but capable consumer, such as increases in confidence and home prices.

“While moderate compared to what we experienced the last two holiday seasons, the forecast is a very pragmatic look at what to expect this year given the current rate of economic growth,” said NRF chief economist Dr. Jack Kleinhenz.

In preparation for the holiday selling season, NRF has forecasted that retailers will hire between 585,000 and 625,000 seasonal workers, comparable to the 607,500 seasonal employees hired last year.

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Kmart hopes to scare up some Halloween sales

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Kmart has designated this Friday as the official start of Halloween shopping with its "Orange and Black Friday" event.

Kmart’s "Orange & Black Friday" event features: 50% off Halloween costumes and Halloween kitchen textiles, tabletop, decor, as well as a "Kmart Kreator" tool (www.Kmart.com/kreator), a social tool where users can create their own Halloween "Kreature" using costumes and accessories available at Kmart.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average consumer will spend nearly $80 on decorations, costumes and candy, bumping up total Halloween spending this year to $8 billion. Of those planning to celebrate, more than half will decorate their home or yard, 45% will dress up, more than a third will throw or attend a party and a third will take kids trick or treating.

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Macy’s fashions support breast cancer awareness

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Macy’s is selling a special I.N.C. InternationalConcepts lace top with part of the proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

The I.N.C. International Concepts lace top for $59.50, available exclusively at Macy’s and macys.com/pink. During the month of October, 5% of the purchase price will benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

“Macy’s has a long-standing commitment to giving back and supporting causes that are important to the communities we live in,” said Martine Reardon, chief marketing officer for Macy’s. “Our more than 10 year partnership with BCRF demonstrates our ability to make magic by working effectively with our vendors, employees and customers to get involved and fight for a cure. We know that the small part we play in such a monumental cause will make a difference and help to save lives by funding research to end breast cancer forever.”

Throughout October, Macy’s will host a dedicated space in 350 stores across the country and online at macys.com/pink, aptly named the “Pink Shop,” featuring a variety of items that give back to causes devoted to awareness, education and research in the fight against breast cancer, including trench coats from Pink Envelope and pink-hued skinny denim from Celebrity Pink.

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