The National Retail Federation projected retail sales will
increase four percent in 2011, the strongest gain since 2007.
The outlooks caps seven consecutive months of retail sales
growth, as well as better-than-expected holiday sales, the group said.
The estimate excludes automobiles, gas stations, and
“With retailers leading the charge, the economic recovery
appears to be gaining some steam,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in a
statement. “However, with small businesses continuing to hold back on hiring
and expansion plans and consumers facing higher energy costs, questions remain
about the speed and strength of the retail spending momentum.”