National CRE News In Your Inbox.

Sign up for Connect emails to stay informed with CRE stories that are 150 words or less.

Sub Markets

Property Sectors


National  | 

Retail Sales Forecast Increases, But Tariff Worries Remain

The National Retail Federation (NRF) today increased its retail sales forecast for 2018, saying sales are expected to grow more than previously predicted, thanks to tax reform and other positive economic inputs. NRF now expects 2018 retail sales—excluding cars, gasoline and restaurant meals—to increase at a minimum of 4.5% over 2017, rather than the 3.8% to 4.4% range forecast earlier this year.

“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,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay.

However, Shay added a “but…” to his generally optimistic outlook. “A tremendous amount of uncertainty about the second half remains,” he said. “It could be a banner year for the industry, or we could keep chugging along at the current rate.”

The overhang of uncertainty stems from tariffs, which could dampen consumer confidence. “We don’t want to see these economic gains derailed by protectionist trade policy,” said Shay.

Given that retailers are ramping up imports—currently at record levels—and stocking their warehouses before most of the proposed tariffs will take effect, “an immediate impact on prices on consumer goods is unlikely, but that won’t last for long,” Shay said.

Moreover, he added, “Just the mere talk of tariffs negatively impacts consumer and business confidence, leading to a decline in spending. It’s time to replace tariffs and talk of trade wars with diplomacy and policies that strengthen recent gains, not kill them.”

NRF’s chief economist, Jack Kleinhenz, said that along with a 4.8% year-over-year increase in retail sales and a revised forecast for 2018 GDP growth, the upwardly-revised forecast is also due to government revisions to retail sales, personal income and consumption numbers from 2016 and 2017 that affect year-to-year comparisons.

Kleinhenz said total retail sales have grown year-over-year every month since November 2009. Retail sales as calculated by NRF—which do not count automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants in the total—have increased year-over-year in all but three months since the beginning of 2010.

Subscribe to Connect Retail

For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Paul Bubny


Inside The Story

Read more at BusinessWireConnect With NRF

About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).