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NRF Predicts Retail Growth in 2019

National Retail Federation forecasts sales increase of between 3.8% and 4.4%.
Feb 6, 2019 8:06 AM   By Rapaport News
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 US retail sales will grow 3.8% to 4.4% this year, despite economic concerns and trade tensions, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

“We believe the underlying state of the economy is sound,” NRF CEO Matthew Shay said Tuesday. “Many people are working, they’re making more money, their taxes are lower, and their confidence remains high.”

The organization expects total sales for the year of $3.82 trillion to $3.84 trillion, while online purchases are expected to reach between $751.1 billion and $764.8 billion — a 10% to 12% increase.

Preliminary estimates show retail sales last year grew 4.6% to $3.68 trillion, surpassing the NRF’s forecast of at least 4.5% growth. Online purchases increased 10% to $682.8 billion.

“We are not seeing any deterioration in the financial health of the consumer,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Most important for the year ahead will be the ongoing strength in the job market, which will support the consumer income and spending that are both key drivers of the economy. The bottom line is that the economy is in a good place despite the ups and downs of the stock market and other uncertainties. Growth remains solid.”

The NRF expects the unemployment rate to drop to 3.5% from 4% last year, and predicts inflation and interest rates will remain low.

Despite the positive forecast, consumer confidence fell 5% last month, according to the Conference Board, which measures consumer sentiment. However, the decline appears to be a temporary reaction to events such as the government shutdown, and not an indication that a slowdown is likely in the coming months, the group noted.

Image: Consumers shopping in a mall in the US. (Pxhere)
Tags: Jack Kleinhenz, Matthew Shay, National Retail Federation, NRF, Rapaport News, the Conference Board, US retail, US retail sales
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