Any increase in retail sales in 2010 is welcome news, after what the economy has been going through. So it is good news that the National Retail Federation is projecting retail industry sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) will increase 2.5 percent from last year. According to its bi-monthly Retail Sales Outlook, influential economic indicators such as the housing market and employment are beginning to show positive signs, which will bolster consumer confidence throughout the year. Total industry retail sales for 2009 declined 2.5 percent.
“As we continue to see signs of improvement throughout the U.S economy in 2010, overall sentiment will begin to lift, making way for slight increases in consumer spending,” says NRF chief economist, Rosalind Wells. “While we still expect shoppers to continue to be frugal with their discretionary spending, retailers will soon be able to reap the benefits of leaner, smarter inventories, and a year and a half of pent up consumer demand.” Other positive economic contributions will come from trade, especially strong exports, and a turnaround in the inventory cycle. Consumer spending will lag behind overall economic growth, Wells estimates, but will continue to expand at a modest 2.0 to 2.5 percent rate.
The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association, with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution, including: department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores and grocery stores, as well as the industry’s key trading partners of retail goods and services.