Retailers respond to 2019 State of the Union address

WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation issued the following statement from President and CEO Matthew Shay on President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.

“Retailers agree that the state of the U.S. economy is sound and expect American consumers to continue to drive growth in the year ahead. Our top priority is for Congress to focus on areas of common ground in order to keep the economy moving forward.

“Rebuilding the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, modernizing North American trade, advancing commonsense immigration reform, protecting consumer privacy, fostering innovation and promoting workforce development are all areas where Republicans and Democrats can reach across the aisle and get things done — while keeping the government’s lights on.

“We commend the president for his efforts to restore balanced trade relationships, and we hope the U.S. and China will continue to move toward a deal and avoid further escalation. Achieving structural reforms, ending existing tariffs and putting an end to the trade war would provide much-needed certainty and relief for American businesses and families. We encourage the administration to continue to focus on the end goal, and for Congress to restore rather than further neglect its role in trade policy.

“The state of the union is indeed strong, and we have an opportunity to make it even stronger. Let’s take it.”

Earlier today, NRF released its annual economic forecast, projecting that retail sales during 2019 will increase between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent to more than $3.8 trillion.

On Wednesday and Thursday, more than 100 businesses large and small will be on Capitol Hill as part of the “Tariffs Hurt the Heartland” campaign supported by NRF and a wide range of trade associations. The businesses will call for continued negotiations between the U.S. and China and educate lawmakers on the negative impact of tariffs.

About NRF

The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association. Based in Washington, D.C., NRF represents discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.