The retail industry, excluding automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, will grow between 3.8 per cent and 4.4 per cent in the year 2018. This has been predicted by the National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest retail trade association, in its economic forecast for the current year.
Notably, the year 2017 surpassed NRF’s prediction in terms of retail business and reported a 3.9 per cent growth as compared to 2016, revealed by the US Census Bureau in its preliminary estimates for the year. The NRF predicted growth between 3.2 and 3.8 per cent for 2017.
Further, online and other non-store sales, which are included in the overall number, are expected to increase between 10 per cent and 12 per cent during 2018 while the economic growth is likely to be in the range of 1.9 to 2.4 per cent.
According to NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, strong sales during the past holiday period is among the major reasons that indicate a positive feeling about the financial health of the American consumers.
High consumer confidence, low unemployment rate and increase in wages have also been cited as the key reasons to hope for a robust growth in the retail industry this year. Also, customer-centric policies and tech innovations will drive growth for the brands.
NRF has also predicted that the overall economy is expected to gain an average of 163,000 jobs a month in 2018. It also expects that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is likely to be in the range of 2.5 to 3 per cent.
“The underpinnings of the economy are very good and consumer spending is at the centre of our outlook,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a press statement.
If the retail industry manages to continue with the momentum it garnered during the previous holiday season, then an increase of 4.4 per cent in sales would be the biggest rise in the past seven years. In 2011, the retail sales increased by 5 per cent.