The National Retail Federation, the largest retail trade association (per their press release) just released their forecast for the holiday season. NRF projects a modest 5% increase over last year, while 2004 saw a 6.7% increase over 2003 [NRF]. 2004 saw the highest level of sales in 5 years. Discounting is expected to start earlier than last year.
While this year is anticipated to see the highest level of retail sales in 6 years, the rate of appreciation is projected to moderate. This correlates with industry projections for the real estate economy.
One has to wonder if the Fed is going too far with increases in short terms rates. A chokehold on consumers could be be brewing, as evidenced by essentially flat core inflation [Matrix].