The National Retail Federation predicted a 1%t decline in total sales to US$437.6 billion for November and December combined.
The NRF is less optimistic this year than several other groups offering holiday sales forecasts.
"We just don't see a sharp turnaround in consumer sentiment and spending until employment and income look a lot better," said Rosalind Wells, chief economist at the National Retail Federation. "Shoppers are going to remain very frugal."
NRF's figures exclude sales from restaurants, gasoline, autos, and online business; they include low-price retailers, department stores, grocery stores, and specialty stores.
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