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Norway’s retailers see lower growth in sales

Norway’s retailers see lower growth in sales

OSLO: Norwegian retail sales will probably grow by 3.0 percent on a nominal basis in 2018, below a September forecast of 4.0 percent but up from 2.5 percent in 2017, the Enterprise Federation of Norway, also known as Virke, predicted on Monday.

The forecasts, measuring the value of all sales, are not adjusted for inflation. Statistics Norway expects core inflation of 1.7 percent in 2018.

 Less expansionary fiscal and monetary policies, along with weaker housing investments, were among the factors curbing growth this year, while somewhat higher wage growth would be supportive.

“We see cautious optimism among the industries we represent,” Chief Executive Vibeke Hammer Madsen said, but added that Virke continues to worry over a drop in Norway’s rate of employment, which indicates that more people leave the work force.

A total of 69.7 percent of adults are currently employed or seeking employment, Statistics Norway data show, down from 71.4 percent two years ago.

In an annual survey by Virke, 26 percent of member firms expected to increase the number of employees during the next six months, the highest level since the survey began in 2012 and up from 23 percent last year.