WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation here projected that retail sales would grow about 3.4% in 2012, to $2.53 trillion (excluding autos, gas and restaurants). That would represent a slowdown from the pace of growth in 2011, when sales grew an estimated 4.7%. Although NRF said holiday spending at the end of 2011 was up 4.1% over 2010 levels, a pullback in consumer spending is expected. NRF made the projections at its Annual Convention & Expo this month in New ...

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