Online shopping will be a major area of growth for retail sales in 2015.

The new year is looking positive for retailers, according to Kantar Retail, a London-based market research and consulting group.

Economists at Kantar are predicting that retail sales in the United States will rise by 4.5 percent in 2015, excluding sales results in the automobile, gas or food service industries. This would signify growth that is a full percentage point stronger than the 3.4 percent gained in 2014.

As it has for the past two years, Kantar is forecasting that online sales will represent the largest increase in retail, growing by 15 percent to constitute about 11 to 12 percent of total retail sales.

Sales at brick-and-mortar food and drug stores are also expected to increase in the next year. Brick-and-mortar apparel and home good stores should see sales increases of 3.6 percent, compared to 2.5 percent in 2014. However, economists at Kantar have reported that department store performances will not be as strong.

“Growth continues to be uneven and the particular retailers that will benefit are increasingly fragmented,” Frank Badillo, chief economist at Kantar, told the Chicago Tribune.

Consumers under the age of 34 will be driving the growth in retail, particularly in the apparel and home goods industries, because they have gained the most in employment and income. However, these benefits will mostly be applicable to small, local businesses ranging from convenience stores to high-end boutiques.

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