WASHINGTON — National Retail Federation here yesterday said it projected a 0.5% decline in retail sales for 2009, factoring in improvements in the second half of the year that could result from increased consumer spending as a result of a massive, government-sponsored economic stimulus program. “This downward cycle will not be easy to break,” said Rosalind Wells, the chief economist for NRF. It is the first time NRF has ever projected a decline in retail sales, which it has been estimating ...

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