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More Jobs, Fatter Paychecks Will Push Retail Sales Up 3.1%: NRF

Job growth and higher wages are expected to drive a 3.1 percent increase in retail sales this year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) has forecasted, outpacing the 10-year average of 2.7 percent.

The trade association also projected direct sales to grow between 6 percent and 9 percent in 2016.

“Wage stagnation is easing, jobs are being created and consumer confidence remains steady,” noted NRF president/CEO Matthew Shay. “So despite the headwinds our economy faces from international developments — particularly in China — we think 2016 will be favorable for growth in the retail industry.”

Sharply lower gasoline prices are another spending incentive, added NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz, although retailers are competing with travel, dining, services, and saving and debt repayment for consumers’ discretionary dollars.