Don’t believe negative predictions about retail, as sales are expected to grow despite the trade war, the volatile stock market and the effects of the government shutdown, said the National Retail Federation (NRF). Retail sales are predicted to increase between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent to more than 3.8 trillion US dollars in 2019.
“We believe the underlying state of the economy is sound”, said NRF’s President and CEO Matthew Shay, in a statement. “More people are working, they’re making more money, their taxes are lower and their confidence remains high”. However, Shay highlights the need to avoid “self-inflicted wounds” to ensure the economy continues to grow. “It’s time for artificial problems like trade wars and shutdowns to end”.
Not only does NRF predict a strong 2019 for American retail, it has also announced 2018 exceeded its expectations. Preliminary estimates show that retail sales grew 4.6 percent to 3.68 trillion US dollars last year, while NRF had forecasted a growth of 4.5 percent. Online and other non-store retail were up 10.4 percent to 682.8 billion, meeting the federation’s forecast. This year, NRF expects online retail to grow between 10 and 12 percent once more.
“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”, added NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz.