The start of a new year is full of hopeful forecasts, and for 2012 the retail industry is already projecting positive results. While expected to be lower than 2011’s 4.7 percent increase in sales, the NRF is still predicting sales growth of 3.4 percent. The U.S. GDP is also estimated to rise 2.1 to 2.4 percent. NRF President and CEO, Matthew Shay, explains, “Our 2012 forecast is a vote of confidence in the retail industry and our ability to succeed even in a challenging economy. Retailers have played a key role in driving growth, but to continue this momentum we need Washington to act on proposals.”
NRF Keeps Tabs on Congress
It was Shay and the chairman, president and CEO of Macy’s, Inc., Terry Lundgren, who recently outlined the industry’s priorities for the upcoming year in an open letter to Capitol Hill. As the two retail leaders state, “Retail is one of the nation’s largest private employers, with twice the number of workers in health care and four times the number in manufacturing. Even in this economy where other industries have struggled or been bailed out, America’s retail industry has led the recovery, delivering 17 months of consecutive sales growth. This remarkable record was punctuated by a record-breaking holiday shopping season.” Among industry priorities for 2012 are:
1) Corporate Tax Reform: In retail, lower corporate taxes would mean lower prices, resulting in increased sales that would create jobs at each stage of the supply chain, from raw materials to the consumer product on the shelf. Congress needs to adopt not just corporate tax reform, but tax policy that benefits consumers and jobs, creating businesses of all sizes.
2) Free and Open Trade: The United States needs to build upon the bipartisan success of the recent free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea, which promise to create jobs by making it easier for U.S. companies to export their goods and services. But in negotiating future agreements, U.S. officials need to recognize the importance of imported goods to U.S. consumers and businesses, and not succumb to pressure from those who would apply outmoded protectionist policies to a modern global economy.
This story has been adapted from a full length piece by the NRF.