Retail

NRF Increases Sales Forecast For 2018

Retail Sales

With tax reform and other positive economic inputs, the National Retail Federation said that sales are expected to grow more than previously predicted. Retail sales are expected to rise by at least 4.5 percent over 2017, compared to the 3.8 to 4.4 percent range that was projected earlier in the year, the Federation said in a press release.

“Higher wages, gains in disposable income, a strong job market and record-high household net worth have all set the stage for very robust growth in the nation’s consumer-driven economy,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in the release. “Tax reform and economic stimulus have created jobs and put more money in consumers’ pockets, and retailers are seeing it in their bottom line.”

At the same time, the federation cautioned that tariffs could dampen consumer confidence: “We don’t want to see these economic gains derailed by protectionist trade policy,” Shay said.

The NRF said the Trump Administration’s planned 25 percent tariff on Chinese imports could be very detrimental to the U.S. economy. In particular, Shay told Chain Store Age that the move would be “another step [toward] throwing away the benefits of tax reform.”

“These tariffs might be part of an effort to bring about fair trade with China, but as we’ve said before, all we have seen so far is a huge risk for American consumers and workers with no endgame in sight,” Shay said in a statement. “It’s time to stop digging a deeper hole while we can still climb out.”

The news comes as some Trump administration advisers are pushing the president to set tariffs as high as 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports — a steep increase from the original proposal of 10 percent. According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House is expected to make a final decision sometime in late August on the tariffs, which are expected to target consumer goods and food, as well as machinery components.

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