U.S. lockdowns have lifted and shopping is back. The National Retail Federation said Wednesday it expects retail sales to jump between 10.5% and 13.5% to more than $4.44 trillion this year compared with last. That is nearly double the forecast the trade group gave in February, when it predicted between 6.5% to 8.2% growth in U.S. retail spending.
“The economy and consumer spending have proven to be much more resilient than initially forecasted,” said NRF chief executive Matthew Shay. They have been boosted by vaccine distribution and the most recent stimulus package.
The NRF forecast includes purchases made both online and in stores. It excludes spending on restaurants, automobiles and gasoline. Last year, the NRF estimated that total retail sales hit around $4.02 trillion, with $920 billion from purchases made through online channels.
Non-store and online sales are expected to increase between 18% and 23% to a range of $1.09 trillion to $1.13 trillion this year.
Some retailers, such as department stores and apparel retailers, struggled last year with closed stores, weak online sales or products that became less popular, such as work clothing. Others, such as big-box retailers, thrived, drawing more shoppers looking for food or homegoods.