National Retail Federationâs 2014 economic forecast was released today and the news is good news for retailers.Â Excluding automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants, the forecast predicts an increase of 4.1 percent for retail industry sales and between 9 and 12 percent increase in online sales.
The forecast cites several reasons that contributed to the positive expectations, including the following:
- Growth in the economy could fall between 2.6 and 3 percent, up from the estimated 1.9 percent rate for 2013.Â This would top its long-term historical average.
- Recovery is expected in the labor market, decreasing unemployment to 6.5 percent or lower by the end of 2014.
- Inflation will creep higher, to as much as 1.7 percent in 2014.
- Continued improvement is expected in the housing sector, fueled by stronger household and business confidence.Â This will promote more consumer spending overall.
The challenges still exist:Â harsh winter weather, domestic and global financial issues, increased health care costs, and regulatory concerns are issues that will play into the forecast, Â The indicators suggest cautious optimism, however, that conditions will improve in 2014.
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