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NRF: Vaccine Rollout to Boost US Retail in 2021

Feb 28, 2021 7:05 AM   By Rapaport News
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US retail sales will grow 6.5% to 8.2% this year, as more consumers are vaccinated and the economy reopens, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

“We are very optimistic that healthy consumer fundamentals, pent-up demand and widespread distribution of the vaccine will generate increased economic growth, retail sales and consumer spending,” NRF CEO Matthew Shay said last week.

The organization expects total sales for the year of $4.33 trillion to $4.4 trillion, while online purchases are predicted to reach between $1.14 trillion and $1.19 trillion — an 18% to 23% increase.

Preliminary estimates show retail sales last year rose 6.7% to $4.06 trillion, well over the NRF’s forecast of up to 4.1% growth, which did not account for the impact of the pandemic. Online purchases jumped 22% to $969.4 billion. During the November-to-December holiday period, sales spiked 8% to $787.1 billion, an “unexpectedly high” increase, the NRF noted.

“The trajectory of the economy is predicated on the effectiveness of the vaccine and its distribution,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Our principal assumption is that the vaccination will be effective and permits accelerated growth during midyear. The economy is expected to see its fastest growth in over two decades.”

The NRF predicts the unemployment rate will shrink, with the overall economy gaining between 220,000 and 300,000 jobs per month over the year. The organization also anticipates the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) will climb 4.5% to 5%.

Image: People shopping at the mall. (Shutterstock) 
Tags: Jack Kleinhenz, Matthew Shay, National Retail Federation, NRF, Rapaport News, US retail sales
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