WASHINGTON — National Retail Federation here last week said it projects a 0.5% decline in retail sales for 2009, noting that consumer spending could increase in the second half of the year 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, an association representing the overall retail industry. “We expect a good part of the economy to contract in the first half. The ...

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