Feb 8 The National Retail Federation said it
expects U.S. retail industry sales to increase 3.7-4.2 percent
in 2017, citing job and income growth and low debt.
Retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gasoline stations
and restaurants, had grown 3.75 percent in 2016, the retail
industry group said.
"The economy is on firm ground as we head into 2017," NRF
Chief Executive Matthew Shay said in a statement on Wednesday.
The NRF also said it expects the unemployment rate to drop
to 4.6 percent by the end of this year. U.S. jobless rate stood
at 4.8 percent in January.
Shay, however, warned that fiscal policy changes could
impact consumers and the economy and lawmakers should stand
against any policies that would increase the cost of everyday
goods for American consumers.
"While consumers have strength they haven't had in the past,
they will remain hesitant to spend until they have more
certainty about policy changes on taxes, trade and other issues
being debated in Congress."
Online and other non-store sales are expected to increase
8-12 percent in 2017, the retail industry group said.
(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by