Ongoing political wrangling may continue to create consumer uncertainty and slow retail sales in 2013, leading to a forecast of less growth than in 2012, according to the National Retail Federation.
The NRF forecasts retail industry sales (which does not include automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) will be up 3.4% in 2013. That will put 2013 down slightly from the 4.2% preliminary growth in 2012.
Online sales are projected to show grow between 9.0 and 12.0% in 2013.
The NRF said that the subdued forecast comes just after a holiday season in which shopping was depressed by Washington, DC's political wrangling over fiscal concerns. Holiday season 2012 sales increased 3.0%.
Holiday season 2012 online sales were up 11.1%.
NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said the negative impact of political wrangling, seen during the 2012 holiday season, will likely go on through 2013. "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," said Shay. "Pushing fiscal policy decisions down the road will lead to even greater uncertainty, and will continue to impact consumers' desire and ability to spend on discretionary items. The administration and congress need to pursue and enact policies that lead to growth and economic expansion, or it could be another challenging year for retailers and consumers alike."
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