Retail sales during 2018 grew 4.6% over 2017 to $3.68 trillion
The National Retail Federation forecast that retail sales during 2019 will increase between 3.8% and 4.4% to more than $3.8 trillion despite threats from an ongoing trade war, the volatile stock market and the effects of the government shutdown.
Preliminary estimates show that retail sales during 2018 grew 4.6% over 2017 to $3.68 trillion, exceeding NRF’s forecast of at least 4.5% growth. The number includes online and other non-store sales, which were up 10.4% at $682.8 billion. That met NRF’s forecast of 10-12% online growth, and online is expected to grow in the same 10-12% range again this year. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.
Growth of between 3.8% and 4.4% would result in total 2019 retail sales of between $3.82 trillion and $3.84 trillion. Based on growth of 10-12%, online sales would total between $751.1 billion and $764.8 billion, which are included in the total.
The 2018 results are based on Commerce Department data up through November but include NRF estimates for December because the agency was closed during the recent government shutdown and has not yet released December figures.