With increases in consumer spending expected to remain solid during the remainder of the year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) recently said that retail sales for 2016 are now expected to grow 3.4% over last year rather than the 3.1% forecast earlier. Online and other non-store sales, which are included in the overall figure, are expected to increase 7% to 10% year-over-year rather than the 6% to 9% forecast earlier.
This retail scenario is a reflection of positive economic indicators, according to NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. These include an improved housing market, job growth, higher wages and other factors that boosted consumer spending. While it’s not a challenge-free field, Shay believes that consumer confidence will remain high for now.
Retail sales in the first half of 2016 performed at a solid pace, growing close to 4% on a year-over-year basis, according to NRF calculations, which exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants. NRF expects gross domestic product to grow between 1.9% and 2.4%.
“There are many factors that could prove to be hurdles but our overall outlook is optimistic,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Uncertainty surrounding the presidential election could make consumers more cautious, and the combination of a rising dollar and global slowdown have impacted exports, but other factors like favorable weather patterns that will help move winter merchandise support our outlook.”