The industry organization also projects non-store sales in 2015 to rise between 7 and 10 percent. The 4.1 percent rise would see the biggest annual growth rate since 2011 when retail sales jumped by 5.1 percent.
The NRF President and CEO, Matthew Shay, said: "We need a commitment from our leaders in Washington to pass legislation that will encourage investment, create jobs and set us on the path towards sustained, long-term economic growth.
“Already facing far fewer obstacles than this time last year in terms of growth opportunities, retailers are optimistic about the potential that exists for healthy growth in retail sales and consumer engagement in 2015. While our outlook for the year ahead is positive, we aren’t quite out of the woods; in order to see continued momentum we need a commitment from our leaders in Washington to pass legislation that will encourage investment, create jobs and set us on the path towards sustained, long-term economic growth.
NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz commented: “The economy appears to finally have gained some real traction and after a somewhat turbulent 2014, we expect to see continued gains in economic activity in the year ahead. While Americans are benefiting from a pickup in wages and jobs and gains in the U.S. stock market, economic slack has been reduced. We still, however, have a ways to go in order to achieve sustainable economic growth. There are a few wild cards that the retailers will need to keep an eye on, like global economic growth, energy prices and even inflation.”
Growth in the labor market should average between 220,000-230,000 new jobs per month throughout the year, the NRF projects, and unemployment is expected to drop to 5 percent by year’s end.
Gains in equities and housing have boosted net worth to record levels, helping consumers feel more confident about household spending.
Additionally, January retail sales released by the National Retail Federation, which excludes automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 3.7 unadjusted year-over-year, with the results confirming holiday sales growth of 4 percent.