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2nd-Half Retail Sales To Rise 3.9%; June CE Sales Edge Higher

Washington – Retail sales are expected to grow significantly faster over the next five months, according to a forecast by the National Retail Federation (NRF).

The report follows last week’s release of the U.S. Census Bureau’s monthly retail sales tally, which showed a 1.3 percent increase CE and appliance dealer sales in June.

The NRF said total retail sales will grow at least 3.9 percent for the balance of the year, compared with a weather-impacted 2.9 percent in the first six months.

“There is plenty of evidence that the second half of the year will be better for the industry as consumers begin to feel more optimistic about their spending decisions,” said Matthew Shay, president/CEO of the industry trade group.

 Total 2014 retail sales are projected to grow 3.6 percent year over year, which was revised downward from 4.1 percent due to the harsher-than-expected winter. “No retailer was immune to the doldrums witnessed during the first quarter,” Shay said.

Added NRF chief economist jack Kleinhenz, “The severe weather and other factors we experienced earlier this year have taken their toll on retail, but most of those problems are behind us. … Employment has grown at its strongest pace since 2005. Business and consumer confidence have edged higher, manufacturing activity has expanded, and inflation pressures remain tame, improving expectations for the second and third quarters.”

Other positive factors include evidence of pent-up consumer demand and a reported new high for American households’ net worth, Kleinhenz said.

The NRF sales projection includes general retail sales and non-store direct sales, i.e., online, catalog and phone, and excludes automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.

Separately, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that June sales rose 1.3 percent for CE and majap dealers year over year, and but were flat from May. In contrast, online and other direct retailers saw June sales rise 8.1 percent from the prior year, while sales at furniture and home-furnishings stores edged up 2.6 percent.

Total retail sales, excluding automotive and food services, rose 4.1 percent, adjusted for seasonal variation and for holiday and trading day differences, but not for price changes.