Expected gains of 4.4% following a strong 4.6% increase posted in 2018
Retail sales in 2019 will increase between 3.8% and 4.4% to more than $3.8 trillion, according to the Washington, D.C.-based National Retail Federation.
The forecast, released in February, comes despite threats from an ongoing trade war, a volatile stock market and the effects of the government shutdown that started the year.
“We believe the underlying state of the economy is sound,” says Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer of the trade group. “More people are working, they’re making more money, their taxes are lower and their confidence remains high.”
Preliminary estimates show that retail sales during 2018 grew 4.6% over 2017 to $3.68 trillion, exceeding NRF’s forecast of at least 4.5% growth. The number includes online and other nonstore sales, which were up 10.4% at $682.8 billion. That met NRF’s forecast of 10% to 12% online growth, and online is expected to grow in the same 10% to 12% range again this year. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.