State of Retailing Today

The impact of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic was felt throughout the retail community. However, retailers led the way in providing essential goods and services to the nation such as food, prescription drugs, and cleaning supplies, and many rapidly deployed new delivery and pick-up options that enabled consumers to obtain critical purchases while minimizing the risk of exposure. Technology retailers provided needed products and connectivity so that families could work and learn from home during times when quarantines and stay-at-home orders were common across the country. Front line retail workers kept store shelves stocked, maintained a clean and safe shopping environment, fulfilled curbside and eCommerce delivery orders, while supply chain heroes in distribution centers, ports, and trucking firms kept goods flowing in the most challenging of times.

As our nation emerges from the pandemic, the retail community is taking a leading role in the economic recovery. Retail sales continue to rebound strongly, with the National Retail Federation raising its industry growth projections for the year to more than 10.5% growth and for industry revenue to exceed $4.44 trillion in 2021. In addition to the overall sales volume of the US retailing industry, the industry’s impact on economic growth and employment is also significant. According to the NRF, the 4.2 million retail establishments across our country directly employ 32 million people and supports over 52 million American jobs, contributing more than $3.9 trillion to the U.S. GDP annually. The US retail industry remains the nation’s largest private employer.

In addition to the business impact of retail, the industry has also played a leadership role in areas that are critical to society in general. From environmental sustainability, diversity & inclusion, economic empowerment, social justice, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy, retailing continues to be a force for positive societal change. 

In short, the future of retail is bright, and our mission remains rooted in inspiring the future of retail – a large, dynamic, and exciting industry. There has never been a better time to pursue a career in retailing than right now!