By and and  on January 17, 2008

NEW YORK — At a conference typically dominated by data technology and store gadgetry, the ailing economy and retail's sharp slowdown took center stage.

Retailers, reeling from a steep sales drop in December, came in record numbers to the National Retail Federation's Annual Convention and Expo at The Javits Center here, and for few good reasons. "They're looking for answers, and to commiserate with colleagues," said NRF's president and chief executive officer, Tracy Mullin. She cited a "tremendous" increase in attendance, to more than 18,000 from an expected 17,000.

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