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NRF: Retail sales to grow 4.1% in 2014 Print Email
Written by Jeremy Burns   
Friday, 07 February 2014 04:30 PM America/New_York

MatthewShay-NRF-WebThe National Retail Federation (NRF) released its 2014 economic forecast Feb. 6, projecting retail industry sales (which excludes automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) will increase 4.1%, up from the 3.7% growth seen in 2013. NRF also announced it expects online sales in 2014 to grow between 9% and 12%.

“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,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “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,” Shay added.

In creating the report, NRF cited early estimates for growth in the economy as measured by real GDP falling between 2.6% and 3%, a noticeable improvement from the estimated 1.9% rate for 2013, and the fastest pace in the past three years. The group also referred to expectations for the labor market to continue its modest recovery, averaging approximately 185,000 jobs per month and helping decrease unemployment to near 6.5% or lower by the end of 2014.

Additionally, NRF pointed to predictions that inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index will inch higher to as much as 1.7% in 2014, as well as expectations of improved performance in the housing sector and stronger household and business confidence, which should spur more consumer spending overall.

“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,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “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.”