Retail sales expected to rise in 2014

Retail sales in 2014 are expected to grow at a faster pace than in 2013. Improvements in the housing market and new jobs are projected to help fuel consumer confidence in the coming year, according to the National Retail Federation.

NRF predicted retail sales will increase 4.1 percent in 2014 to total $3.24 trillion. This estimate is a bit higher than 2013's preliminary growth of 3.7 percent and increase from the past decade's average of 3.6 percent. Among the different sectors of the retail market expected to grow, NRF predicts online sales will be a major contributor to sales in 2014. The Washington-based organization believes online sales will increase between 9 and 12 percent in 2014.

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement they have set the bar high for 2014 because of certain economic factors.

"Measured improvements in economic growth combined with positive expectations for continued consumer spending will put the retail industry in a relatively good place in 2014," Shay said. "Though headwinds in the form of the looming debt ceiling debates, increased health care costs, and regulatory concerns still pose risks for both consumers and retailers, we are cautiously optimistic and hopeful that the economic tides will change in 2014."

NRF believes these economic factors will include an increase in demand for gross domestic product, inflation and continued growth in the housing market. Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist, said in a statement that although they are aware their predictions are lofty, NRF believes they can hit those numbers.

"While we are careful not to ignore the challenges, we are optimistic and hopeful that future disruptions will be limited, allowing employment and business investment to grow all the while giving retailers and their customers the confidence in the economy they need," Kleinhenz said.

Retailers who need increased demands in 2014 can call upon supply chain recruiters to help them find experienced workers.