Major retailers expect stronger sales in 2014
Women's boots on sale at the Woodfield mall in Schaumburg. (Chuck Berman / Chicago Tribune / December 26, 2013)
The Washington, D.C. based trade group which represents retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target, cited a number of factors including modest recovery in the economy and labor market.
The NRF forecast excludes automobiles, gas stations and restaurants.
Online sales will grow 9 to 12 percent, the group predicted. Last year, online sales grew 10.3 percent.
"The economy remains susceptible to buffets as we are already witnessing in the New Year, thanks to harsh winter weather, domestic and global financial issues," said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz in a statement.
"While we are careful not to ignore the challenges, we are optimistic and hopeful that future disruptions will be limited, allowing employment and business investment to grow all the while giving retailers and their customers the confidence in the economy they need."
The start of the year has been rough for retailers so far, due to severe winter weather and low consumer confidence. Sales in stores open at least a year grew a modest 3.1 percent in January according to figures from RetailMetrics.
Also, several retailers, including Hoffman Estates-based Sears, Radio Shack and Wal-Mart have announced that they will close bricks and mortar locations this year.