Retail group forecasts healthy hike to retail sales in 2017

Keywords Real Estate / Retail

The nation's largest retail trade group says retail sales will increase 3.8 percent to 4.4 percent this year compared with last year.

The National Retail Federation on Thursday said sales will be helped by an improving economy as well as the major tax reform, which means tax cuts for workers and retailers. It's already translating into higher wages and one-time bonuses for workers and should encourage shoppers to spend more.

Retail sales grew 3.9 percent in 2017 over 2016, to $3.53 trillion, according to the U.S. Census bureau's preliminary estimate for the year. The number is subject to revision, but exceeded the group's forecast for growth between 3.2 and 3.8 percent.

The outlook comes after the retail industry enjoyed the biggest sales increase for the holiday shopping season since 2010.

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