Retail sales growth will speed up, albeit slightly in 2014, rising 4.1 percent compared with an estimated 3.7 percent gain in 2013, the National Retail Federation said.
The Washington, D.C., based trade group which represents retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target, cited a number of factors including modest recovery in the economy and labor market. The NRF forecast excludes automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, Daily Clips reported.
Online sales will grow 9 to 12 percent, the group predicted. Last year, online sales grew 10.3 percent. “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 in a statement. “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.”
The start of the year has been rough for retailers so far, due to severe winter weather and low consumer confidence.
Sales in stores open at least a year grew a modest 3.1 percent in January according to figures from RetailMetrics.
Also, several retailers, including Hoffman Estates-based Sears, Radio Shack and Wal-Mart have announced that they will close brick-and-mortar locations this year.