Retail sales overall are roaring back so dramatically the National Retail Federation (NRF) basically doubled its forecast for the full year. It now expects growth of between 10.5 and 13.5 percent, up from a forecast of 6.5 percent growth back in February.
Retail accounts for 1 out of 4 of all jobs and represents 54 million jobs, said the NRF in a seminar Wednesday.
In addition, NRF now projects full-year GDP growth to approach 7 percent, compared with the 4.4 percent- 5 percent forecast earlier this year.
This is the fastest growth the US has experienced since 1984, said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. The reopening of the economy has accelerated much faster than most had believed possible, even a year ago due to the combination of vaccine distribution, stimulus and the resiliency of the private sector, he said.
“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,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.
By the way, car audio dealers saw an increase in sales of 33 percent in the first quarter over the same quarter a year ago, according to the Mobile Electronics Association.
NRF now forecasts that 2021 retail sales will fall between $4.44 trillion and $4.56 trillion. Non-store and online sales, which are included in the total figure, are expected to grow between 18 percent and 23 percent to a range of $1.09 trillion to $1.13 trillion. 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.