On Monday, The National Retail Federation said that it expected a 3.4 percent retail sales growth over the next year, adding that higher taxes, consumer uncertainty and a struggling economy would result in a decrease from last year.
The NRF said that its forecast is based on the expectations of slower inflation, decreased consumer confidence in the face of increased payroll taxes, and modest increases in income and unemployment. The group, however, expects the housing market to continue its recovery and said that consumer confidence could improve in the second half of the year, Supermarket News reports.
Shop.org, the digital arm of the NRF, expects online sales to grow between nine percent and 12 percent in the coming year. In 2012, online sales during November and December grew 11.1 percent. Holiday sales last year grew three percent, and the NRF expects a similar trend during the 2013 holiday season.
“What we witnessed during the holiday season is an indication of what we are likely to see in 2013,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said, according to Supermarket News. “Consumers read troubling economic headlines every day and look at their bottom lines at the end of the month, and they don’t like what they see. Pushing fiscal policy decisions down the road will lead to even greater uncertainty and will continue to impact consumers’ desire and ability to spend on discretionary items. The [Obama] administration and Congress need to pursue and enact policies that lead to growth and economic expansion, or it could be another challenging year for retailers and consumers alike.”