The National Retail Federation announced yesterday that due to the “continuing psychological and economic impact” of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack against the United States, it has revised retail sales forecasts for the fourth quarter and winter holiday season.
According to the organization's Retail Sales Outlook report, sales growth for the fourth quarter has been revised to 2.2 percent compared to the previously forecasted 4 percent for general merchandise, apparel, furniture, home furnishings, electronics and appliance stores. The NRF, Washington, is predicting 2001 holiday retail sales to increase 2.5 percent to 3 percent.
“Recession remains a possibility,” said NRF chief economist Rosalind Wells. “However, we feel that the strong underpinnings of the U.S. economy and the resilience of the U.S. consumer will force the stalling growth over the next few months to give way to a rebound beginning next year.”
According to NRF members, consumers are shopping, but are purchasing a limited range of products. “With a few notable exceptions, such as American flags, consumers are currently focusing on basics, buying out of necessity, not desire,” said NRF president and CEO Tracy Mullin. “We expect consumer spending patterns to begin to return to normal levels as the holiday season approaches.”