Retail sales are expected to increase 4.1 percent in 2015, according to the National Retail Federation's 2015 economic forecast. NRF also expects non-store sales to grow between 7 and 10 percent.
The NRF predicted the same figure for sales growth in 2014, and at the year's end, the growth was around 3.5 percent.
"Already facing far fewer obstacles than this time last year in terms of growth opportunities, retailers are optimistic about the potential that exists for healthy growth in retail sales and consumer engagement in 2015," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "While our outlook for the year ahead is positive, we aren't quite out of the woods; in order to see continued momentum we need a commitment from our leaders in Washington to pass legislation that will encourage investment, create jobs and set us on the path towards sustained, long-term economic growth."
Though the economy has gained traction and there has been a pickup in wages, jobs and gains in the U.S. stock market, there are still hurdles to pass in order to achieve sustainable growth, according to NRF's Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. "There are a few wild cards that retailers will need to keep an eye on, like global economic growth, energy prices and even inflation," he said.
The same concerns plagued retail in 2014, as a BDO survey revealed that CFOs were wary of impediments to confidence, particularly a weak jobs outlook. Not to mention, personal credit availability and debt levels continued to place pressure on consumers in 2014.
In 2015, retail sales for the month of January show a 0.2 percent increase, seasonally adjusted month-to-month, and a 307 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
And unemployment is expected to drop by 5 percent by 2016. Retail is the country's largest private sector employer, supporting one in four jobs, or 42 million Americans. The industry also contributes $2.6 trillion to the annual GDP.
-See this NRF press release
Retail CFOs predict 5% sales increase for 2014
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