Retail Group: Annual Retail Sales to Rise 3.8 to 4.4 Percent

NEW YORK — 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 said Thursday 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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