Kantar Retail, a London-based market research company, is predicting that retail sales in the United States will rise by 4.5 percent in 2015, due to lower unemployment rates and decreased gas prices. This would mean 2015 would boast a full percentage point stronger than 2014's growth of 3.4 percent, excluding sales from the automobile, gas and food service industries.
Online sales are expected to continue to be the fastest growing area of retail, constituting 11 to 12 percent of total retail sales. Sales at brick-and-mortar food and drug stores are forecasted to climb as well, by as much as 3.6 percent.
However, this doesn't mean that retailers in all industries will be benefiting from the strengthened economy.
"Growth continues to be uneven and the particular retailers that will benefit are increasingly fragmented," Frank Badillo, chief economist at Kantar Retail, told the Chicago Tribune.
Retail sales will be mostly driven by consumers under the age of 34, since younger people have been making the largest gains in employment recently. Both consumers at the lower and higher ends of the income scale will be contributing to the retail growth by patronizing small, local stores ranging from neighborhood convenience stores to upscale, boutique retailers.
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