WASHINGTON, D.C. -- It could be a bleak year for retail sales.
According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales are expected to increase 3.4 percent in the coming months.
That's slightly less than the preliminary 4.2 percent growth seen last year.
The weak outlook comes on the heels of concerns over the fiscal cliff, which shifted consumer spending.
Overall, holiday sales were up 3 percent.
A number of factors contributed to the weak forecast, including employment and income, which are not expected to result in fast growth this year.
Analysts say it's too early to tell if higher payroll taxes may have an impact on consumer spending.