Retail expected to have stronger second half

Despite poor retail forecasts for 2014 and slow growth in the first half, the National Retail Federation predicts sales will grow faster in the remaining five months.

The 2014 forecast predicts 3.6 percent growth in retail sales, slightly lower than the NRF's original prediction of a 4.1 percent growth.

A glance at growth rates thus far shows sales grew 2.9 percent in the first half of 2014 but are expected to improve at least 3.9 percent in the second half. The calculations include retail sales and non-store sales--excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants.

"No retailer was immune to the doldrums witnessed during the first quarter, and as a result, the year's growth trajectory was impacted," said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. "That said, there is plenty of evidence that the second half of the year will be better for the industry as consumers begin to feel more optimistic about their spending decisions."

Citing severe weather and other passing phases of the year, economists are more optimistic about continued consumer spending.

"Employment has grown at its strongest pace since 2005, business and consumer confidence have edged higher, manufacturing activity has expanded and inflation pressures remain tame, improving expectations for the second and third quarters," wrote Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist, NRF, in his monthly economic review.

However, Kleinhenz remains realistic about the unsteady growth of the global economy, which is affecting the overall picture for the United States.

"Consumers continue to be cautious, selective and price sensitive, which raises issues about how fast the economy is expected to grow," Kleinhenz wrote.

For more:
-See this NRF press release
-See this NRF article

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