Retail is poised to see its fastest growth since 1984, according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) chief economist, who issued a forecast even more optimistic than the one shared in February 2021. Sales are estimated to grow as much as 13.5% through year’s end to $4.56 trillion.
Fulfilling this potentially historic consumer demand hinges on one thing—having the right inventory on hand. The pandemic made armchair supply chain management experts out of all of us, and it’s not hard to see how the many issues contributing to delays and shortages could impact the winter holidays. The supply chain problem is so critical that the NRF, the nation’s largest retail trade organization, is asking for the attention of the White House, noting in a letter to President Joe Biden that, in particular, issues at maritime ports have “led to inventory shortages impacting our ability to serve customers,” and “added significant transportation and warehousing costs for retailers.