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MarketWatch MarketPulseFeb 26, 2020
Retail sales will rise to more than $3.9 trillion in 2020: NRF
The National Retail Federation forecasts that retail sales in 2020 will rise between 3.5% and 4.1% to more than $3.9 trillion, even with uncertainty from coronavirus, the presidential election and the trade war. "With gains in household income and wealth, lower interest rates and strong consumer confidence, we expect another healthy year ahead," said Matthew Shay, chief executive of the NRF, in a statement. "There are always wild cards we cannot control like coronavirus and a politically charged election year. But when it comes to the fundamentals, our economy is sound and consumers continue to lead the way." NRF notes that the forecast "assumes that coronavirus does not become a global pandemic." Jack Kleinhenz, NRF's chief economist, highlights the unemployment rate, which is at a near 50-year low, and low interest rates, which are a driver for home buying and consumer spending. One area of concern for corporate executives is trade policy. Retail sales grew 3.7% in 2019 to $3.79 trillion, according to preliminary results. Non-store sales, which is primarily online sales, reached $777.3 billion, up 12.9%.The SPDR S&P Retail ETF has lost 5.6% over the past year. The Amplify Online Retail ETF has gained 7.5%. And the S&P 500 index is up 13.3% for the last 12 months.

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