Retail sales are set to grow by between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent in the coming year, to upwards of $3.8 trillion, according to the National Retail Federation.
“We believe the underlying state of the economy is sound,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, in a report issued this week. “More people are working, they’re making more money, their taxes are lower, and their confidence remains high.”
Last year sales grew by 4.6 percent versus the year before, to nearly $3.7 trillion, NRF says. Online sales increased by 10.4 percent, to $682.8 billion. (These stats exclude restaurant, auto and gasoline sales.)
“Consumers are in better shape than anytime in the last few years,” said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF's chief economist. “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.”
NRF predicts that 170,000 jobs will be added each month on average, and that unemployment will fall to 3.5 percent by the end of the year, down from the current 4 percent. GDP, meanwhile, is likely to grow by about 2.5 percent over the 2018 level.
By Edmund Mander