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Published: Wednesday, 3/12/2008

Retail sales predicted to slow to 1 percent

Sales growth at U.S. retailers may slow to 1 percent in March, half the pace previously projected by a trade group, after sales grew at the lowest rate in five weeks.

The reduced forecast by the International Council of Shopping Centers and UBS Securities LLC yesterday was new evidence that the U.S. economic slowdown is deepening as falling home values and rising prices for food and fuel damp consumer demand. Sales at stores open more than a year increased 1.6 percent last week from a year earlier, the slowest since the first week of February.

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