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National Retail Federation lowers annual retail forecast

NEW YORK (AP) — The nation’s largest retail trade group is downgrading its annual forecast after a slew of government data revisions.

The National Retail Federation said Wednesday it now expects retail sales to increase between 3.2 percent and 3.8 percent this year, down from the previous forecast for an increase of 3.7 percent to 4.2 percent.

That comes after the Census Bureau revised retail sales figures downward and the Bureau of Economic Analysis lowered its figures for personal income and consumption.

The trade group’s chief economist, Jack Kleinhenz, says that weaker-than-expected spending in the first quarter and slowing inflation contributed to the revision, but the NRF anticipates stronger sales heading into the fall and holiday season.

NRF calculations of retail sales exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants.

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