Record retail spending expected in 2021

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Consumer spending is on its way to reaching record levels in 2021.

Retail sales will grow by 8.1 percent this year — the fastest pace this century — to a record $4.3 trillion, according to retail consulting firm Customer Growth Partners, which tracks government data and its own proprietary research.

The robust growth tops the annual 6.4 percent increase in 2004, which had been the biggest increase of the century so far.

Americans who kept their jobs — and those who lost jobs but were buoyed by federal and state unemployment checks and stimulus payments — fueled the retail spending on everything from home goods to electronics, work from home gear, sporting goods and toys.

The economic collapse in the first half of last year was the “shortest recession in memory at just five months or one month shorter than the 1980 recession,” said CGP president Craig Johnson. 

Consumers’ finances are among the healthiest in decades as they have padded their savings accounts with an extra $1.2 trillion — mostly by spending less on vacations and entertainment — over the past year.

The retailers that will continue to drive most of the spending this year or account for 12.1 percent of the pie will be those who offer home goods, including big box stores like Target, Lowes, Walmart and Home Depot followed by sporting goods which will account for 9.8 percent of spending.

Restaurants and bars will eventually return to growth as well at 4.6 percent growth, CGP predicts while spending at department stores and other apparel retailers will be down 12.1 percent and 8.7 percent respectively.

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