Trade group raises 2016 sales growth forecast to 3.4 percent

AP News
Posted: Jul 26, 2016 6:12 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — A trade group is raising its forecast for retail sales growth this year to 3.6 percent, with more help from online sales, as the economy improves.

The National Retail Federation said Tuesday that's up from its previous forecast of 3.1 percent growth. That includes expected 7 percent to 10 percent growth in online and other non-store sales, up from the earlier 6 percent to 9 percent forecast.

The NRF cited an improving housing market, job growth, higher wages and high consumer confidence among factors that are helping consumer spending. Potential hurdles, though, include uncertainty around the presidential election and currency effects.

According to NRF estimates, retail sales in the first half of the year rose close to 4 percent. The estimates exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants.