Retail CFOs predict 5% sales growth for 2014

Despite ongoing market uncertainty, retail CFOs are feeling more confident about the state of the consumer.

According to a new BDO survey, retail CFOs forecast a 5.1 percent increase in total sales and a 4.8 percent increase in comparable store sales this year, marking a significant increase from the number expressing similar sentiments last year. A majority of CFOs (63 percent) indicate that they include online sales in their comparable sales projections, suggesting that some of this expected growth and optimism may be linked to the growing popularity of e-commerce.

"With consumer confidence gaining momentum, retail CFOs are relatively bullish about 2014 retail sales," says Doug Hart, partner in the retail and consumer products practice at BDO. "While concerns remain about unemployment and financial market volatility due to the Fed's pullback, they appear to be offset by the housing market recovery and less concern over Washington gridlock. Retailers are hoping that those factors will help boost consumer confidence in the coming year."

A majority of retailers (56 percent) say that they expect consumer confidence will increase in 2014, as confidence levels have recovered from their low in Fall 2013 following the government shutdown.

The forecast isn't all sunny, however. CFOs remain wary of impediments to confidence, particularly a weak jobs outlook, according to the survey. Personal credit availability and debt levels (18 percent) also continue to place pressure on consumers, and are collectively the second most-frequently cited factor by CFOs. This year, only 12 percent of CFOs surveyed said tax increases will be the top influencer of consumer confidence, a 50 percent decrease from 2013.

For more:
-See this press release

Related stories:
NRF optimistically predicts 4.1% sales increase for 2014
NRF: Retail spending for Super Bowl will hit record high
U.S. consumer confidence rebounds in December
November retail sales beat estimates, jump most in 5 months
Retail sales slump ahead of Christmas, year-end shopping expected to be big

Suggested Articles

Costco changes up its menu items, and Alibaba and Guess partner for a physical store.

Janey Whiteside, Walmart's new chief customer officer, is well acquainted with the importance of customer service in modern retail.

Whole Foods will offer deals on Amazon's Prime Day, and tariffs against China are causing pricing hikes.