Too early to be bullish about 2015 sales

The National Retail Federation issued its full-year forecast at its annual gathering in January. The NRF is projecting sales over 4% for the full year — which, in my view (per the following RetailWire comment), is on the high side:

As usual, the NRF is very optimistic (too much so) about a year that has just kicked off, and not with the greatest sales momentum so far. While improving employment numbers and low gas prices continue to provide tailwinds, there is still not enough evidence that consumers are spending at the rates the NRF suggests. (Usually they hold their optimism for their holiday forecast.)

Shoppers continue to be very selective about where they spend their money: No problem buying the latest iPhone in huge quantities, but this kind of purchase takes customers out of the market for a lot of other goods. So the joy among other electronics, home goods or softlines retailers may be a little more muted than the NRF suggests.

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