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Slower Retail Growth Expected in 2012

NRF forecasts sales increase of 3.4 percent, though online and mobile sales continue to see healthy gains.

Prospects for traditional retail are not looking so hot for 2012, according to the National Retail Federation, which projects slower growth this year than last.

Though the online sector has experienced record sales levels in recent months, the NRF reports that “stubbornly high unemployment and continued uncertainty” about job growth will stunt retail’s growth in the coming year. The retail group projects retail industry sales will grow 3.4 percent to $2.53 trillion in 2012, compared to 4.7-percent growth in 2011.

“Over the last 18 months, retailers have been on the forefront of the economic recovery—creating jobs, encouraging consumer spending and investing in America,” says Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “Our 2012 forecast is a vote of confidence in the retail industry and our ability to succeed even in a challenging economy.”

Meanwhile, the e-retail sector continues to enjoy healthy expansion, as more consumers seek out the convenience of online—and mobile—shopping.

A long-term forcast of online sales from research firm Forrester points to 10-percent compounded annual growth through 2013. Recent research from comScore seems to bear this out, with holiday shoppers ringing up more than $37 billion in online sales during the 2011 holiday season, a 15-percent increase over the same period in 2010.

eBay reports that its PayPal subsidiary processed $4 billion in mobile payments in 2011, and predicts that number will rise to $7 billion this year.

About the author

Crista Souza
Crista Souza is founding editor of A journalism graduate of San Jose State University, she spent 13 years as a business and technology reporter in Silicon Valley. Crista has been writing about B2C and C2C ecommerce since 2008. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

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