NRF: 2013 Retail Sales to Grow 3.4%January 30, 2013
The National Retail Federation projects 2013 retail sales to increase 3.4 percent, slightly less than the preliminary 4.2 percent growth in 2012.
The subdued forecast comes on the heels of a holiday season that went head-to-head with Washington’s political wrangling over fiscal concerns, shifting consumers’ spending plans downward. In the end, holiday sales in 2012 grew 3 percent.
Shop.org, NRF’s digital division, expects online sales in 2013 to grow between 9 percent and 12 percent. Online sales in 2012 during the months of November and December last year grew 11.1 percent.
Retail industry sales from NRF take into account most traditional retail categories including auto parts and accessories stores, non-store categories, discounters, department stores, grocery stores, and specialty stores, and excludes sales at automotive dealers, gas stations, and restaurants.
“What we witnessed during the holiday season is an indication of what we are likely to see in 2013," said Matthew Shay, president and CEO Of NRF.
"Consumers read troubling economic headlines every day and look at their bottom lines at the end of the month, and they don’t like what they see. Pushing fiscal policy decisions down the road will lead to even greater uncertainty, and will continue to impact consumers’ desire and ability to spend on discretionary items. The administration and congress need to pursue and enact policies that lead to growth and economic expansion, or it could be another challenging year for retailers and consumers alike.”
The NRF looked at a number of factors for its forecast, including employment, income growth, consumer confidence, inflation and housing.
“While it’s too early to know the full effect of higher payroll taxes, there’s no question that many consumers will feel some kind of impact from the change in their paychecks,” said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF's chief economist.
“That said, consumers have in the past shown a resiliency in the face of uncertainty, and we expect those impacted to adjust to smaller budgets by trading down or simply cutting back on certain items. Overall we foresee some improvements in the second half of the year should the outlook for job creation and income growth improve.”