Citing the recent solid holiday selling season and several macro factors including the high level of consumer confidence, the National Retail Federation (NRF) is forecasting that 2018 will be another good year for retailers.
Overall, the NRF is projecting retail sales growth of between 3.8% and 4.4% for 2018. Online and other non-store sales, which are included in the overall number, are expected to increase between 10% and 12%. The forecast excludes automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.
In 2017, the NRF said retail sales were up 3.9%, exceeding its forecast for growth between 3.2% and 3.8%.
“A robust holiday season for retail sales is just one of many barometers that points to a consumer that is clearly feeling positive about their financial health,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “Despite headlines to the contrary, the retail industry is strong, growing and meeting consumer demand with the products they want at the prices they expect and the shopping experience they want to have, online or in store. With consumer confidence high, unemployment low and wages growing, there is every reason to believe that retail sales will be robust throughout the year.”
Jack Kleinhenz, NRF’s chief economist, added that the underpinnings of the economy are good and consumer spending is at the center of the federation’s outlook.
“The push and pull of forces both external and internal to the U.S. economy will continue to provide challenges, but on balance we expect a good year,” he said. “And as the retail industry continues to transform, retailers will leverage the new tax plan to invest in their employees, stores and new formats that engage with the ever-evolving and demanding consumer.”