The revised forecast surpasses NRF’s initial projection of at least 6.5 per cent growth, made in February of this year. The initial forecast was made when there was still great uncertainty about consumer spending, vaccine distribution, virus infection rates and additional fiscal stimulus, prior to passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, NRF said in a press release.
NRF forecasts that 2021 retail sales are estimated to total between $4.44 trillion to $4.56 trillion. Non-store and online sales, which are included in the total figure, are expected to grow between 18 per cent and 23 per cent to a range of $1.09 trillion to $1.13 trillion as consumers continue to utilise e-commerce. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.
The updated figure compares with $4.02 trillion in total retail sales in 2020. Of that, $920 billion was from purchases made through non-store and online channels. In addition, pre-pandemic levels of output are expected to return this quarter.
“The combination of vaccine distribution, fiscal stimulus and private-sector ingenuity have put millions of Americans back to work. While there are downside risks related to worker shortages, an overheating economy, tax increases and over-regulation, overall households are healthier, and consumers are demonstrating their ability and willingness to spend. The pandemic was a reminder how essential small, mid-size and large retailers are to the everyday lives of Americans in communities nationwide,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said.
“We are seeing clear signs of a strong and resilient economy,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Incoming data suggests that US economic activity continues to expand rapidly, and we have seen impressive growth. Most indicators point toward an energetic expansion over the upcoming months and through the remainder of the year.”
Kleinhenz said that the sheer amount of both fiscal and monetary policy intervention has lifted personal income and filled the well of income that was lost back in March and April of last year, creating an overabundance of purchasing power.
Given the strength of consumer spending, Kleinhenz noted he anticipates the fastest growth the US has experienced since 1984. The reopening of the economy has accelerated much faster than most had believed possible, even a year ago.
All NRF figures are based on the US Census Bureau’s revisions and adjustments released on April 26, 2021.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (KD)
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