Holiday Sales in 2018 Did Not Live Up to Potential
After nearly a month of government shutdown, the National Retail Federation finally received the exact data on retail sales during the 2018 holiday season. And the results are slightly disappointing.
Retail sales for November to December of 2018 were expected to experience a growth between 4.3 and 4.8 percent. The actual growth rate only amounted to 2.9 percent. Probable causes for this lower-than-expected number are likely due to trade policy and stock market turmoil.
“All signs during the holidays seemed to show that consumers remained confident about the economy,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “However, it appears that worries over the trade war and turmoil in the stock markets impacted consumer behavior more than we expected. There’s also a question of whether the government shutdown and resulting delay in collecting data might have made the results less reliable. It’s very disappointing that clearly avoidable actions by the government influenced consumer confidence and unnecessarily depressed December retail sales.”
NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz went on to say that these numbers were “truly surprising” and contradict spending habits they have been observing as of late. In fact, these final numbers come only a week after the NRF forecasted an overall growth of 3.8 and 4.4 percent for the 2019 calendar year.