13547 Mon, 01/14/2008 - 12:48pm
NEW YORK–Retail industry sales will increase 3.5 percent from last year, according to the The National Retail Federation’s 2008 economic forecast from its Retail Sales Outlook report, released this morning at NRF’s 97th Annual Convention & Expo here. The NRF expects the sluggish pace in sales growth to continue before picking up in the second half of the year.
“Consumers will be under financial stress from high energy costs, the fallout from the housing slump, and sluggish employment and income growth,” said Rosalind Wells, NRF’s chief economist. “Shoppers will seek to pay down debt, spend more in line with income growth and approach discretionary purchases with more restraint.”
However, retail sales will strengthen in the third and fourth quarters. NRF expects industry sales to rise 3.2 percent in the first half of the year followed by a 3.8 percent gain in the second half as economic conditions improve.