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Holiday retail sales are expected to be weaker than last year and weaker than the recent pace of retail sales, according to senior economists from Retail Forward, the global management consulting and market research firm.

Core retail sales are forecast to grow 3.0 to 3.5 percent for the fourth quarter holiday season. Core retail sales include building and home improvement sales, general merchandise stores, apparel stores, furniture and home furnishings stores, and other miscellaneous store types such as sporting goods, toy and book stores. They do not include food and drug stores.

According to Retail Forward economists, the forecasted growth rate is slower than last year’s holiday pace by at least a full percentage point and by as much as two percentage points, depending on which retail sectors are examined. Last year, these core holiday sectors combined grew at a nearly 4.5 percent rate.
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