Retail sales are forecast to grow 4.1% this year

Retail sales are forecast to grow 4.1% this year

US retail sales are poised to increase 4.1% this year, helped by higher economic growth, as well as an improved labour market and housing sector.

The optimistic forecast from the National Retail Federation (NRF) is up from the preliminary 3.7% growth seen in 2013. The trade body also expects online sales to rise 9-12%.

"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.

But, Shay warned, headwinds such as the looming debt ceiling debates, increased health care costs, and regulatory concerns still pose risks for consumers and retailers.

"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.

"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."