Holiday sales forecast is weak

The National Retail Federation, usually bullish about holiday sales, predicts a 1 percent decline in total sales to $437.6 billion for November and December combined.

The projection from the world's largest retail trade group comes amid forecasts that U.S. retailers saw a key measure of sales drop in September for the 13th month in a row compared with a year earlier.

NRF's figures exclude sales from restaurants, gasoline, autos and online business; they include low-price retailers, department stores, grocery stores and specialty stores.