business news in context, analysis with attitude

CNBC reports that the National Retail Federation (NRF) is projecting that "retail sales in 2017 are expected to grow roughly in line with last year's 3.8 percent gain, as rising wages, lower unemployment and a solid housing market drive consumer confidence higher.

"However, with many tax and trade policies still up in the air under the Trump administration, consumers are expected to continue being methodical with their spending ... The organization's forecast does not include potential legislation that could come from Washington, D.C., including the controversial border adjustment tax."

NRF also is saying that "online and other non-store sales are expected to increase between 8 percent and 12 percent."

• The Wall Street Journal reports that "Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC on Friday said it agreed to buy baby-food maker Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. for $16.6 billion, a deal that will almost double the size of the British company’s consumer-health business and help it push deeper into emerging markets.

Reckitt Benckiser CEO Rakesh Kapoor said that the Mean Johnson business fits into his company's "consumer-health portfolio tangentially, just like its condom and foot-care brand acquisitions have in the past. 'Our strategy is about healthier lives and homes,' he said. 'Their mission is about enabling healthier lives from the very beginning'."

• The Associated Press reports that "the U.S. Postal Service said Thursday it lost $200 million during the year-end holiday season, despite a strong quarter of package shipping and expanded use of vote-by-mail in the November presidential election." The results reflect "continued erosion in the delivery of first-class mail as well as expensive mandates for pre-funding of its retiree health care obligations."
KC's View: