US retail sales seen up

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    US retail sales could rise as much as 8.2 percent to more than $4.33 trillion this year as more people get the COVID-19 vaccine and the economy reopens, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said.

    The economy is expected to see its fastest growth in over two decades as the rollout of the vaccine to consumers should permit accelerated growth during the mid-year, the trade group said. NRF expects the overall economy to gain between 220,000 and 300,000 jobs per month in 2021.

    “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 Chief Executive Matthew Shay said in a statement.

    Preliminary results show retail sales for 2020 grew 6.7 percent to $4.06 trillion, above the trade body’s forecast of at least 3.5 percent growth, NRF said. The retail sales numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

    US retail sales are expected to rise between 6.5 percent and 8.2 percent in 2021, the NRF said.

    Deemed “essential, Walmart and rivals Target and Best Buy were permitted to stay open throughout the pandemic, unlike others, including Macy’s.

    The US department store chain said while reporting company earnings on Tuesday that it has invested tremendously in its online business, as virus-wary shoppers have opted to stay home to make their purchases rather than leisurely shop in-store. – Reuters