September 7, 2017 / 1:16 AM / a year ago

Retail industry group revises down its 2017 U.S. sales forecast

(Reuters) - The National Retail Federation cut its forecast on Wednesday for retail sales in 2017 following revisions made by the U.S. government on personal income and consumer spending data.

FILE PHOTO: People shop at The Grove mall in Los Angeles November 26, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

NRF said it now expected sales to grow between 3.2 percent and 3.8 percent, down from 3.7 percent to 4.2 percent growth it estimated in February.

Since the start of the year, the U.S. monthly consumer price index has missed analysts’ estimates four times, according to Thomson Reuters data.

“Meaningful revisions to retail sales numbers...and similar revisions to personal income and consumption have both affected our forecast and have required us to adjust our 2017 sales projection,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in an email.

The industry group said weaker-than-expected spending in the first quarter along with decelerating inflation also contributed to the revision, but it expects strong sales heading into the fall and holiday seasons.

Last year, shoppers spent $658.3 billion during the U.S. holiday season, which typically lasts from Thanksgiving to early January, beating NRF’s growth estimates at the time.

Estimates for the year for online sales, which were a big contributor to the holiday sales increase last year, were not issued by the industry body on Wednesday.

The report could add more grief to U.S. retailers, who have been struggling to boost sales as shoppers drop their visit to malls, seek steep discounts and prefer shopping on online retailers for the convenience the medium provides.

Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; editing by Grant McCool

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