Consumer Spending, Credit Remain Constrained: NRF CEO

Woman shopping for a dress
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Woman shopping for a dress

There is "no silver bullet" to help improve retail performance, said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, an industry trade group.

According to Shay, retailers remain constrained by both lower levels of consumer spendingas well as a continuation in tight credit conditions.

With consumer spending accounting for about 70 percent of all economic activity, the retail industry accounts for about one in five U.S. Jobs, Shay said. That why banks should loosen up lending to qualified retailers that would like to expand their business.

As for consumers, they remain cautious, according to Shay.

"I think what we are seeing...is continuing discomfort with the number of fundamental questions about our economythat remain unanswered, primarily among those is when are we going to see robust, and sustained, job creation, and when are we going to see the restoration of the free flow of capital, and credit, to small businesses and investors," he said.

Shay's comments come as retail stocks continue to trend lower. The MS Retail Index was recently trading more than 20 percent below its April highs, with some specific retail stocks having lost much more ground than the overall index.

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