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The National Retail Federation (NRF) releases 2019 holiday sales

A Walmart worker organizes products for Christmas season at a Walmart store in Teterboro, New Jersey.

Eduardo Munoz | Reuters

Holiday retail sales in 2019 grew 4.1%, amounting to $730.2 billion and coming in at the high end of a previously issued forecast, the National Retail Federation said in a press release on Thursday. 

NRF, the retail industry’s leading trade group, had previously forecast that retail sales excluding automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants during November and December would increase between 3.8% and 4.2%. It had expected online sales to rise between 11% and 14%. 

Online sales during the holidays slightly topped NRF’s expectations, climbing 14.6%, to $167.8 billion, NRF said Thursday. 

“This is a consumer-driven economy, and by any measure, the consumer has put the economy in a solid position for continued growth,” NRF President and CEO Matt Shay said in a statement. “This is a strong finish to the holiday season, and we think it’s a positive indicator of what’s ahead.” 

The 2018 holiday season saw meager growth of just 2.1%, thanks in large part to a government shutdown, stock market volatility and interest rate hikes. 

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates. 

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