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Slower Growth Was Expected

Earlier this year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) projected retail sales figures to grow from 3.8 to 4.4 percent, which is lower than the 4.6 percent growth experienced in 2018. Whether it hurts the ETFs will depend on how the market interprets the data, but the NRF says the forecast comes “despite threats from an ongoing trade war, the volatile stock market and the effects of the government shutdown.”

The 35-day government shutdown prevented the release of December’s retail sales data from the Commerce Department. According to the NRF, sales this year should total more than $3.8 trillion–a figure that does not include sales from automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

Additionally, the NRF numbers showed a continuing trend of growing online sales as consumers shift from brick-and-mortar stores to the internet. Online and non-store sales rose 10.4 percent higher last year and the NRF is predicting more of the same for 2019.

For more information on the consumer sector, visit our consumer discretionary category.