NRF: Retail sales in 2012 forecasted behind 2011

New York City -- A report released Monday by the National Retail Federation said that retail industry sales growth for 2012 is forecasted at 3.4%, a pace slower than 2011’s 4.7% growth.

Still, said NRF, the retail industry will grow at a rate faster than many other industries.

“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. 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.”

Shay will announce NRF’s forecast to a record 24,000 retailers and their partners at NRF’s 101st Annual Convention and Expo on Monday in New York. During his remarks, Shay will discuss how continued growth in the retail industry will result in additional jobs, greater innovation and increased consumer value. But he will warn that the private sector can’t do it alone and Washington must take steps to support growth.

Though retailers ended last year on a strong note with holiday sales rising 4.1% over 2010, many factors will continue to influence the expected slowdown in consumer spending, but none remain more cumbersome than the stalled unemployment rate and lack of newly created jobs, said NRF.