National Retail Federation on Thursday projected a 4.1% increase in retail sales for 2014, up from an estimated 3.7% growth in 2013.

“Measured improvements in economic growth combined with positive expectations for continued consumer spending will put the retail industry in a relatively good place in 2014,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Though headwinds in the form of the looming debt ceiling debates, increased healthcare costs, and regulatory concerns still pose risks for both consumers and retailers, we are cautiously optimistic and hopeful that the economic tides will change in 2014.”


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The projected 4.1% increase excludes auto sales and sales from gas stations and restaurants.

NRF also projected that online sales would grow between 9% and 12% in 2014.

The association attributed several factors to its forecast:

• Estimates for growth in the Gross Domestic Product of 2.6% to 3%, up from the estimated 1.9% rate for 2013.

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• Improvements in the job market, with unemployment projected at 6.5% or lower by year-end.

• Inflation could rise as much as 1.7%.

• Improvements in the housing sector, with stronger household and business confidence spurring more consumer spending overall.

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