The US National Retail Federation (NRF) has projected retail sales in the US to increase between 6% and 8% this year, which is higher than their pre-pandemic growth rate of 3.7%.
Retail sales in the country, excluding sales at automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants, are forecast at between $4.86tn and $4.95tn for the year.
With the ongoing, widespread adoption of e-commerce, the NRF expects non-store and online sales to grow by between 11% and 13% to a range of $1.17tn to $1.19tn.
Last year, retail sales in the US grew by 14%, which was the highest growth rate in more than 20 years.
NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said: “The NRF expects retail sales to increase in 2022, as consumers are ready to spend and have the resources to do so.
“We should see durable growth this year given consumer confidence to continue this expansion, notwithstanding risks related to inflation, Covid-19 and geopolitical threats.”
The NRF has also forecast strong job and wage growth for the country this year, as well as declining unemployment.
Despite this, full-year gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to ease at around 3.5% due to the increase in inflation and tightening of monetary policy and less fiscal stimulus.
NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said: “In addition to inflation, the forces impacting the economy include Covid-19 impacts, international tensions and policy variability.”
The NRF announced the forecast during its annual State of Retail and the Consumer virtual event.
The trade organisation expects US retail sales to remain ‘strong’ over the coming months as the economy reopens following Covid-19 lockdown measures.
Last month, the NRF reported that overall retail sales in the US for January had grown by 3.8% seasonally adjusted from December and were up by 13% year-over-year (YoY).