Retail sales expected to continue uphill growth

Retail sales are expected to jump between 3.8 and 4.4 percent this year. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

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Retail sales are expected to jump between 3.8 and 4.4 percent this year. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Some economists are anticipating a recession, but retail leaders said they expect sales to remain strong throughout 2019.

Sales in 2018 increased 4.6 percent to $3.68 trillion. The National Retail Federation expects retail to grow again in 2019, increasing between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent to $3.8 trillion.

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Consumer confidence has been shaken in recent months due to the ongoing trade war, government shutdown and volatile stock market. Some economists are also anticipating a recession in the near future. But NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said the economy for retail is sound.

“More people are working, they’re making more money, their taxes are lower and their confidence remains high. The biggest priority is to ensure that our economy continues to grow and to avoid self-inflicted wounds,” Shay said. “It’s time for artificial problems like trade wars and shutdowns to end, and to focus on prosperity not politics.”

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Last year, non-store and online sales were up 10.4 percent. The non-brick-and-mortar sales are also expected to increase between 10 and 12 percent this year.

About 170,000 jobs will be added per month this year, down from 220,000 in 2019 and unemployment will drop to 3.5 percent, according to NRF.

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