The National Retail Federation (NRF) projects retail industry sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) to increase 4.1%, up from the preliminary 3.7% growth witnessed last year. NRF also expects online sales to grow between 9-and-12% in 2014.
“Measured improvements in economic growth combined with positive expectations for continued consumer spending will put the retail industry in a relatively good place in 2014,” says Matthew Shay, president and CEO of NRF. “Though headwinds in the form of the looming debt ceiling debates, increased health care costs and regulatory concerns still pose risks for both consumers and retailers, we are cautiously optimistic and hopeful that the economic tides will change in 2014. As the industry tackles important issues in 2014, such as immigration and tax reform, we will continue to push our nation’s leaders to support policies that promote growth and create jobs for hard-working Americans,” he adds.
“The economy remains susceptible to buffets as we are already witnessing in the New Year, thanks to harsh winter weather, domestic and global financial issues. While we are careful not to ignore the challenges, we are optimistic and hopeful that future disruptions will be limited, allowing employment and business investment to grow all the while giving retailers and their customers the confidence in the economy they need,” observes NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz.