NEW YORK - Despite continued high unemployment and a job market that shows little promise for growth, the retail industry will grow at a faster rate than many other industries, the National Retail Federation (NRF) announced earlier this week.
This year, retail industry sales will grow 3.4% to reach $2.53 trillion, the NRF said, slightly lower than last yearï¿½ï¿½s 4.7% lift though well ahead of the expected GDP increase of 2.1% to 2.4%.
"Over the last 18 months, retailers have been on the forefront of the economic recovery - creating jobs, encouraging consumer spending, and investing in America," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "Our 2012 forecast is a vote of confidence in the retail industry and our ability to succeed even in a challenging economy."
Shay said the growth will not be achieved without government assistance, though, and he appealed to lawmakers to pass legislation that will help stimulate the economy.
"Retailers have played a key role in driving growth, but to continue this momentum we need Washington to act on proposals that will spur job creation and unleash the power of the private sector," he said.
Speaking at the NRFï¿½ï¿½s 101st Annual Convention and Expo yesterday, Shay was expected to discuss the necessity for corporate tax reform to enhance U.S businessï¿½ï¿½ competitiveness, enacting sales tax fairness to help brick-and-mortar stores compete on equal footing with online retailers, and reforming our visa system to enable more foreign travelers to visit the U.S. to spend money and help spur growth.
Shay had outlined those steps in a letter last week that he and NRF Chairman Terry Lundgren sent to President Obama.