Sales growth forecast for 2015 lowered to 3.5%

The National Retail Federation lowered its retail sales forecast for 2015 because of slow growth in the first half of the year. Originally, the NRF predicted in February that sales would grow 4.1 percent, but has now adjusted the number to a 3.5 percent growth.

The NRF predicted the same figure for sales growth in 2014, and at the year's end, the growth was around 3.5 percent.

Thus far, sales have grown 2.9 percent in the first half of the year and are expected to pick up the pace to 3.7 percent in the remainder of the year.

"For years consumer spending has been hampered by lackluster growth in our economy. Much of that blame can be shifted to Washington where too much time has been spent crafting rules and regulations that almost guarantee negative consequences for consumers and American businesses alike," said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. "Until the government and our elected leaders get serious about enacting policies that lift consumer confidence, create economic growth and spur investment, we will continue this trend of solid, but not exceptional, performance in the economy." 

The increased spending in the second half of the year will go along with recent improvements in the housing and labor markets, along with lower energy costs and a boost in consumer confidence.

Earlier this year, sales were not as positive as expected due to rough winter weather, issues at the West Coast ports, a stronger U.S. dollar, weak foreign growth and declines in the energy sector.

"Additionally, household spending patterns appear to have shifted purchases toward services and away from goods, though this may be transitory," said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist . "Additionally, a deflationary retail environment has been especially challenging for retailers' bottom lines."

For more:
-See this NRF press release

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