US retailers upbeat on 2020 sales despite virus uncertainty

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New York (AFP)

US retailers projected solid sales in 2020 Wednesday despite uncertainty over the coronavirus that has thrashed global equity markets in recent days.

Global markets have gyrated this week as the virus has spread to additional countries and raised concerns about the economic hit from the sorts of lockdown measures that have limited travel and industrial production in China.

Many companies have warned that their bottom line will feel the impact, at least in the current quarter, but the National Retail Federation forecast sales gains of between 3.5 percent and 4.1 percent to more than $3.9 trillion for 2020, pointing to a solid labor market and low interest rates that have been the linchpin of the US economy since the 2008 financial crisis.

“The nation’s record-long economic expansion is continuing, and consumers remain the drivers of that expansion,” said NRF President Matthew Shay in a press release.

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