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National Retail Federation estimates sales will rise 4% in 2011

February 16, 2011 |  9:01 pm

The National Retail Federation released its 2011 economic forecast Wednesday, projecting that retail industry sales would increase 4% from 2010.

The estimate -- which excludes automobiles, gas stations and restaurants -- follows seven consecutive months of retail sales growth and better-than-expected holiday sales.

The retail federation said that, thanks to robust holiday spending figures, the prospects for economic growth were starting to improve. However, with small businesses continuing to delay hiring and expansion plans, and consumers facing higher energy costs, questions remain about the speed and strength of the retail spending momentum. 

And although consumers are once again showing a willingness to spend, inflation from rising commodity prices and continued high unemployment could become obstacles to economic growth, the group said.

-- Andrea Chang