Retail group forecasts solid retail sales growth for 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, is forecasting that retail sales could grow between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent to more than $3.8 trillion this year as shoppers remain in a mood to spend in a strong economy.

The forecast is nearly in line with the 4.6 percent gain the group estimated for 2018. Last year’s results are preliminary pending the release of December data from the Commerce Department that was delayed because of the government shutdown. Last year, the trade group estimated a 4.5 percent increase for 2018.

Still, the National Retail Federation acknowledges that an ongoing trade war and a volatile stock market could threaten that growth. The group says it has been difficult to measure the impact of the government shutdown.

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