NRF: U.S. Retail Sales Will Rise 4.1 Percent in 2014

NRFWASHINGTON-U.S. retail sales—excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants—will grow 4.1 percent in 2014, according to a forecast by the National Retail Federation.

NRF said that it also expects online retail sales to increase by between 9 and 12 percent this year. “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 Matthew Shay, NRF’s president and CEO.

Retail sales will benefit from economic growth that is expected to be greater than its long-term historical average. Early estimates call for growth in gross domestic product to be between 2.6 and 3 percent this year. In addition, growth in the jobs market is projected to reduce overall unemployment to 6.5 percent by the end of 2014.

In addition, the consumer price index is expected to rise by 1.7 percent this year. The housing sector is also projected to continue to improve, spurring strong consumer spending by increasing household and business confidence.

Jack Kleinhenz, NRF’s chief economist, did warn that the U.S. 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.”