Retail growth should accelerate in second half of 2003, says NRF

The National Retail Federation’s Retail Sales Outlook Report predicts solid growth in the second half of the year.

“Now that the Iraq conflict has ended, we are all waiting for the economy to show increased vigor,” NRF chief economist Rosalind Wells recently told the media. “Though there will be lingering economic problems, retailers can expect solid, steady growth in the second half of the year.”

NRF predicts 4.5% growth in GAFS sales (general merchandise stores, apparel and accessory stores, furniture and homes furnishing stores, electronics and appliances stores, and sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores) in the second half, up from 2.2% in the first half.

Wells also noted that retail sales should be bolstered in the second half by record-low interest rates, a rebound in equity markets, additional disposable income from mortgage refinancing, and the recent passage of the $350 billion tax cut package. “Pent-up demand for apparel, provided weather and style cooperate, should increase sales of clothing and accessories,” she added.