NRF lowers holiday expectations

In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the National Retail Federation has cut its forecast for holiday sales growth to between 2.5% and 3%, the Wall Street Journal reports. It would be the worst showing since 1990, when holiday sales growth figures were flat. Prior to the attacks, the NRF was already predicting a lean 4% sales growth in the holiday season, due to consumer confidence dropping and corporate layoffs increasing.

Frank Badillo, a senior retail economist with Retail Forward Inc., told the WSJ he had been among the economists who thought the United States could avoid a recession, but said the September 11 attacks are “the kind of event that does push an economy into recession.”

Many share his concern. A separate article in the Sept. 21 WSJ said a consensus of forecasters surveyed on Sept. 19 by Blue Chip Economic Indicators is that the economy is headed for recession, which will last through the end of this year. What happens then, says the WSJ, is still uncertain.