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National Retail Federation Forecasts 3.4 Percent Increase In Sales This Year

By Kendra Ablaza, Staff Writer

January 28, 2013 - Retail sales are expected to increase 3.4 percent this year, while online sales are projected to grow between 9 and 12 percent, according to a forecast released Monday by the National Retail Federation (NRF). Retail sales – not including restaurants, gas stations and car sales – grew more than 4 percent last year and 2012 holiday sales increased about 3 percent, according to the NRF.

The NRF said factors that contributed to the economic forecast are the modest recovery of unemployment, income growth, improving housing sector, inflation and growing consumer confidence.

“What we witnessed during the holiday season is an indication of what we are likely to see in 2013,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. “Consumers read troubling economic headlines every day and look at their bottom lines at the end of the month, and they don’t like what they see.”

Belmont Shore Business Association President Mike Sheldrake agrees that the economy is coming back both locally and nationwide. However, he said retail sales in Belmont Shore have remained flat in 2013.

“The restaurants seem to be doing better, but some of the retailers haven’t seen the turn around as much, yet,” Sheldrake told the Business Journal.

Sheldrake, who also owns Polly’s Gourmet Coffee, mentioned a variety of reasons that contribute to this observation, such as the necessity of purchasing food versus clothing, and the difference in competition between the two markets.

“If you’re selling clothing, you’re not only competing with other small clothing stores but with the big boys at the mall,” he said. “But if you’ve got a restaurant, you’re only competing with the restaurants because people are going to come after your product in narrower area.”

Sheldrake said he does not follow the NRF’s forecasts, but reads the Los Angeles Times everyday, reads news sources on the internet and especially in the coffee business and commodity markets.

NRF is the “world’s largest retail trade association,” representing retailers of all types and sizes from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad, including department stores, specialty, apparel, discount, online, independent, grocery and chain restaurants.