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NRF’s Big Show: High Hopes and Looming Questions for 2019

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NRF’s Big Show: High Hopes and Looming Questions for 2019

In better spirits than recent years, tens of thousands of retailers, tech firms, vendors, industry analysts and consultants will descend on New York’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center for the annual NRF 2019: Retail’s Big Show, this Sunday through Tuesday.
As holiday retail sales results trickle in, somewhat under expectations in certain cases but still positive for the most part, the mood for the convention is bright. The economy is strong. Unemployment is low. Consumer confidence is holding up and retailers are adapting to changing shopping patterns with investments in technology and innovations.
What’s in question is fourth-quarter profitability. There’s been heavy promoting to rev up revenues and steep costs associated with fulfilling and shipping online orders, and there’s uncertainty over whether consumers will tighten up on spending, amid the nation’s political divisiveness, the protracted government shutdown, stock market gyrations, and threat of tariffs and another recession.
“Consumers remain very confident. Interest rates are incredibly low. Wages are growing. Unemployment is strong. Our view is let’s not murder this economic expansion by doing something stupid,” Matt Shay, president and chief executive officer of the National Retail Federation, told WWD.
“A trade war doesn’t make sense. Closing the border doesn’t make sense. There a number

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