The National Retail Federation has lowered its retail sales forecast for 2014 because of slow growth recorded during the first half of the year, but expects sales to grow significantly faster over the next five months.
NRF forecasted in January that retail sales would grow 4.1 percent in 2014 over 2013, but the latest revision lowers the forecast to 3.6 percent.
NRF calculated that sales grew 2.9 percent during the first half of the year and are expected to grow at least 3.9 percent during the second half. The numbers include general retail sales and non-store sales, and exclude automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants.
“No retailer was immune to the doldrums witnessed during the first quarter, and as a result, the year’s growth trajectory was impacted,” says Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer, NRF. “That said, there is plenty of evidence that the second half of the year will be better for the industry as consumers begin to feel more optimistic about their spending decisions. Though we maintain realistic expectations of retail sales growth in 2014, we are optimistic that the chances for a stronger economy still exist."
“The severe weather and other factors we experienced earlier this year have taken their toll on retail, but most of those problems are behind us,” says Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist, NRF. “A second look at our forecast shifted our expectations slightly, but it’s important to note that the outlook is positive. Sales are growing and we expect them to continue at a moderate pace.”