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Brad Dorfman

U.S. retail sales should rise 4.1 percent this holiday season, slower growth than in the past two years as mixed economic data and political uncertainty weigh on consumers, the world’s largest retail trade association said.

The forecast released Oct. 2 by the National Retail Federation puts sales at $586.1 billion in November and December. The 4.1 percent growth forecast trails the 5.6 percent growth seen in 2011 and 5.5 percent growth in 2010.

The NRF forecast is one of the closely watched benchmarks for expectations ahead of the holiday season, which can account for one-third of annual sales in many cases. With consumer spending making up about 70 percent of the U.S. economy, the holiday season is an important gauge as to whether the slow-growing U.S. economy can shift into a higher gear. read more »

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