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The National Retail Federation announced its 2019 retail sales forecast, expecting the total to exceed $3.8 trillion with growth of 3.8% to 4.4%. "More people are working, they're making more money, their taxes are lower and their confidence remains high," said Matthew Shay, the group's chief executive, in a statement. "The biggest priority is to ensure that our economy continues to grow and to avoid self-inflicted wounds. It's time for artificial problems like trade wars and shutdowns to end, and to focus on prosperity not politics." The NRF said retailers so far have been able to blunt the impact of higher tariffs, but that could change if tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods go up to 25% from 10%. Preliminary numbers show that retail sales grew 4.6% in 2018, reaching $3.68 trillion. Online sales were up 10.4% to $682.8 billion, and are expected to grow 10% to 12% in 2019 as well. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF has gained 1.7% over the last 12 months. The Amplify Online Retail ETF has gained 11.3% in the past year. The S&P 500 index is up 3.2% for the period. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.