WASHINGTON–U.S. retail sales are expected to increase by four percent in 2011, according to a forecast from the National Retail Federation.
NRF based its prediction on several positive developments, including seven consecutive months of retail-sales growth and better-than-expected results from the 2010 holiday shopping season. The association added that other factors—including small businesses holding back on hiring and expansion, and higher energy costs—would likely keep sales growth from rising at a higher rate.
Underscoring NRF’s cautiously optimistic forecast, the association’s 2011 Tax Returns Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey found that 42.1 percent of Americans will save their tax refunds rather than use them for a big-ticket purchase, up from 40.3 percent in the 2010 survey. However, more Americans—13.2 percent versus 12.5 percent a year ago—intend to use their refunds for a big-ticket item.