Retail industry sales, which exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, will grow between 3.7% and 4.2% over 2016. Online and other non-store/online sales, which are included in the overall number, are expected to increase between 8% and 12%.
The National Retail Federation says the economy is on firm ground as we head into 2017 and is expected to build on the momentum we saw late last year from the last administration.
With jobs and income growing and debt relatively low, the fundamentals are in place and the consumer is in the driver’s seat. But this year is unlike any other – while consumers have strength they haven’t had in the past, they will remain hesitant to spend until they have more certainty about policy changes on taxes, trade and other issues being debated in Congress.
It is clear that online sales will continue to expand in 2017 and provide growth for the retail industry unless the government derails the progress of the last eight years.
The NRF says it is important to realize that virtually major retailer sells online and many of those sales will be made by discount stores, department stores and other traditional retailers. Retailers sell to consumers however they want to buy, whether it’s in-store, online or mobile.
Additional Economic Insights:
• The economy is expected to gain an average of approximately 160,000 jobs a month. The number is down slightly from 2016 but consistent with labor market growth.
• Unemployment is expected to drop to 4.6 percent by the end of the year.
• Economic growth is likely to be in the range of 1.9 to 2.4 percent.
• The forecast is a baseline, and does not take into account new fiscal measures pending in Washington.