NRF President Warns of ‘Self-Inflicted’ Economic Wounds

Says trade war, closed border, government shutdown could ruin growth
Posted January 14, 2019

At the Washington, D.C.-based National Retail Federation’s annual trade show and conference, The Big Show, at New York’s Jacob K. Javits Center, its CEO and President Matthew Shay opened the show Sunday with an analysis of the state of the retail industry, including some warnings for retailers.

In his address, he noted the strength of the economy and consumer confidence: “We are now very far removed from where the industry was two years ago when people were talking about a retail apocalypse or ice age,” he said. He touted low unemployment, low interest rates and growing wages. He also noted that some policies enacted by the Trump Administration do not “make sense,” including the trade war with China and closing the border, which he said “have the potential to have a negative impact on the economy.”

Shay specifically said of the expanding economy, “Let’s not murder this … by doing something stupid.” With regards to how the NRF will continue to lobby for the retail industry, Shay said, “Our priority would be, in a general sense, to avoid any self-inflicted wounds,” such as a trade war or the government shutdown continuing much farther into the future, according to Women’s Wear Daily.