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NRF predicts retail sales will increase 3.7-4.2 percent over 2016

Published: February 16, 2017

The National Retail Federation has released their 2017 Economic Forecast. The forecast, which does not include automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, project total retail growth in 2017 to be between 3.7 percent and 4.2 percent. That figure includes online sales, which are specifically projected for between 8 percent and 12 percent growth.

The CEO of the NRF, Matthew Shay, credits a growing economy, increased employment, increased wages and shrinking personal debt for the projected economic growth, saying that we should expect 2017 to build on the momentum from 2016.

However, the new political climate poses potential concerns, as consumers may be hesitant to make major purchases until there is more certainty on the new regime’s stances taxation and trade, among other issues. Shay warns that, “Lawmakers should take note and stand firm against any policies, rules or regulations that would increase the cost of everyday goods for American consumers.” 

The NRF feels that rate of job growth is directly tied to retail sales growth, and if the economy continues to improve, so will retail sales.

While the projection does not take the changing state of Washington politics into account, based on the policies at the end of 2016, we should expect total economic growth between 1.9 percent and 2.4 percent. In addition, the NRF projects around 160,000 new jobs per month, leading to unemployment shrinking to 4.6 percent by the year’s end.