NRF: Retail Sales Could Grow More Than 4 Percent in 2018


The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts retail industry sales will grow between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent over 2017, according to its newly released economic forecast for 2018. The report also cites that online and other non-store sales, which are accounted for in the overall number, are expected to increase between 10 percent and 12 percent year-over-year (YOY). Automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants are excluded from the assessment. Additional insights include the expected economic gain of 163,000 jobs added monthly on average; a 3.9-percent drop in unemployment; and gross domestic product growth falling in the neighborhood of 2.5 percent to 3 percent.

“A robust holiday season for retail sales is just one of many barometers that points to a consumer that is clearly feeling positive about their financial health,” says Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “Despite headlines to the contrary, the retail industry is strong, growing and meeting consumer demand with the products they want at the prices they expect and the shopping experience they want to have, online or in store. With consumer confidence high, unemployment low and wages growing, there is every reason to believe that retail sales will be robust throughout the year.”

“The underpinnings of the economy are good and consumer spending is at the center of our outlook,” adds Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist. “The push and pull of forces both external and internal to the U.S. economy will continue to provide challenges, but on balance we expect a good year. And as the retail industry continues to transform, retailers will leverage the new tax plan to invest in their employees, stores and new formats that engage with the ever-evolving and demanding consumer.”

Exceeding the NRF’s original forecast for the year, 2017 saw retail sales increase 3.9 percent YOY to a total of $3.53 trillion.

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