Survey: Most Kentucky retailers fear business won't improve in 2013

Over two-thirds of Kentucky retailers surveyed say they think their business won't improve this year

The Kentucky Retail Federation's eight-question survey went out after in late April to 6,000 members of the group. Questions asked members about spending patterns, how sales compare year to year, employment, etc.

According to the survey, 42 percent of respondents said they thought 2013 sales would be equal to those of last year, and 40 percent thought they would see a decrease. The remaining 18 percent forecasted an increase in sales. According to Members are concerned about health care reform and online retailers play a major role.

When asked what most concerns them, respondents cited the Affordable Care Act. Members said they are cautious about hiring new staff and investing in business growth until they know the health care reform's costs.

More than 93 percent of the members said they think they will lose sales to online retailers this year. Members are used to competing with online retailers, but online retailers have an advantage because it's not mandatory for them to collect the state sales tax, respondents said.

Group members have requested that Kentucky's congressional delegation support legislation to levy sales tax for online retailers.

Laura Leigh Goins, the federation's vice president of communications and public relations, said, "We would like to have an answer as soon as possible. We've been pleased with the interest shown by delegates and the representative."

The Kentucky Retail Federation conducts annual surveys in the fall. This is the first time it has conducted a spring survey.