Retail executives fairly optimistic about sales growth

The retail sector may be more optimistic about business conditions than other markets, as new research shows substantial confidence in sales projections among leading industry executives.

The retail sector may be more optimistic about business conditions than other markets, as new research shows substantial confidence in sales projections among leading industry executives.

According to the 2011 Retail Finance Outlook, 60 percent of retail executives expect sales to grow over the next 12 months, and a mere 9 percent anticipate a decline in sales activity. The surge in optimism may also be reflective of the upcoming holiday shopping season, which is traditionally the busiest time of the year for the retail sector.

The report also found nearly three-quarters of retail executives expect to see their holiday sales either improve slightly (38 percent) or remain the same as last year (36 percent).

"Our study shows that there's cautious optimism for the retail industry this holiday season," said Burt Feinberg, group head of CIT Commercial and Industrial. "Other retail trends to watch are price-conscious consumers looking for bargains. More than a third of retail industry executives predict an increase in last-minute shopping."

Experts are also hoping that the second-annual Small Business Saturday event, to be held November 26, will help drive sales to small retailers.