NBCNEWS.COM - The best that can be said about the 2012 holiday shopping season is that it will be about average, according to the latest forecast from the National Retail Federation (NRF), a retail trade group.
The NRF predicts that holiday sales this year will increase 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion -- that's just above the 10-year average of 3.5 percent growth for annual holiday sales increases, but down from the 5.6 percent growth figure for holiday sales in 2011.
Consulting firm Deloitte has a similarly tempered outlook for 2012 holiday sales.
It recently issued a forecast for retail sales for the November through
January period to rise between 3.5 percent and 4 percent this year,
down from a gain of 5.9 percent in 2011. Deloitte blamed the downturn on
high gas prices and weak housing and job markets. click here to read more