June 27, 2018 / 9:27 AM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-Norway's retailers to see pick up in retail sales in 2018 -Virke

(Recasts, adds quote, details on interest rate hike)

OSLO, June 27 (Reuters) - Norwegian retail sales will probably see faster sales growth this year after a pick up in activity following a cold winter, the Enterprise Federation of Norway, also known as Virke, predicted on Wednesday.

Sales are now projected to grow by 3.0 percent on a nominal basis in 2018, in line with a March forecast, but up from 2.3 percent growth in 2017.

“Retail sales have been affected by the cold and the snow-rich winter as well as high electricity bills, but we are starting to see a pick up after Easter,” Virke Chief Economist Lars Haartveit told Reuters.

Haartveit added that he was not worries that an expected rate hike after would halt retail growth.

“The central bank has signalled very gradual tightening, and that will not be a big concern to consumers after higher wage growth and as employment increases,” he said.

Virke has about 20,000 member businesses that in total employ around 8 percent of Norway’s workforce.

The forecasts, measuring the value of all sales, are not adjusted for inflation. Statistics Norway expects core inflation of 1.6 percent in 2018. (Reporting by Camilla Knudsen, editing by Terje Solsvik and Louise Heavens)

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