WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation yesterday said December retail sales (excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants) were up 1.7% over year-ago levels and that total holiday sales for 2007 were up 3%, lower than the association’s previous 4% projection. NRF also reduced its previous estimate for November sales to 4.7% from 5.1%. This year’s holiday sales were the weakest since 2002, when sales role 1.3%, NRF said. As previously reported, NRF this week projected retail sales gains of 3.5% for 2008 after a weak first half and a recovery in the second half.
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