The National Retail Federation released its economic forecast for 2014, with projected retail industry sales growth of 4.1%. Its preliminary count for 2013 stands below that at 3.7%.
Additionally, the NRF also said it 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,” 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."
The NRF cited expectations that economic growth is poised to be above its long-term historical average, with estimates of real GDP growth coming in between 2.6% and 3% (up from 1.9% in 2013).
Additionally, an estimated average of 185,000 jobs added to the economy each month and a continued housing recovery is expected to buoy confidence and increase consumer activity.
“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,” said Shay.
In this instance, "retail industry sales" excludes automobiles, gas stations and restaurants.