The New Year looks to be a good one for retailers. Sales will increase 4.8 percent over last year, reports the National Retail Federation (NRF) in a forecast released today. “NRF expects subdued first half economic growth to give way to accelerated sales in the second half,” the quarterly Retail Sales Outlook states.
“Industry sales gains of 3.8 percent in the first quarter should increase to 4.6 percent in the second, 5.2 percent in the third and 5.7 percent in the final quarter,” according to the Outlook. The report also predicts that current retail trends will continue, with luxury retailers outperforming and online shopping continuing to escalate.
Likewise, retailers catering to the lower and mid-level income consumer will find achieving sales gains more challenging. And, the Outlook notes, “Demand for merchandise related to the home will be impacted by a soft housing market.”
Even though NRF is predicting the sales increase this year, the rise will be less than the 6.3-percent increase recorded in 2006 when “the stronger-than-expected sales surge was fueled by robust consumer spending in the first half of the year.”
The Retail Sales Outlook excludes automobiles, gas stations and restaurants.