(AXcess News) Dallas – Calling its 2013 retail forecast “subdued”,NRF noted that the economic uncertainty in Washington amongst politicians effected consumer sentiment during the holiday shopping season and that on-going concern over the debt ceiling and jobs market would continue to be a factor.

Retail sales forecast for 2013 upbeat,but slightly less than 2012

“What we witnessed during the holiday season is an indication of what we are likely to see in 2013. Consumers read troubling economic headlines every day and look at their bottom lines at the end of the month,and they don’t like what they see,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said.

“Pushing fiscal policy decisions down the road will lead to even greater uncertainty,and will continue to impact consumers’ desire and ability to spend on discretionary items. The administration and congress need to pursue and enact policies that lead to growth and economic expansion,or it could be another challenging year for retailers and consumers alike.”

While the overall retail sales forecast for 2013 remains positive,the online sector is expected to continue to enjoy double-digit growth with online retail sales in 2013 forecast to grow anywhere from 9 to 12%. In 2012,online retail sales enjoyed a growth of 11.1% between November and December.

“While it’s too early to know the full effect of higher payroll taxes,there’s no question that many consumers will feel some kind of impact from the change in their paychecks,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz.

“That said,consumers have in the past shown a resiliency in the face of uncertainty,and we expect those impacted to adjust to smaller budgets by trading down or simply cutting back on certain items. Overall we foresee some improvements in the second half of the year should the outlook for job creation and income growth improve.”