U.S. Retailers Have Rosy Outlook For Coming Year

Anxious to put a tumultuous 2020 behind them, U.S. retailers are optimistic that they will experience a better sales year in 2021, says Korn Ferry, a global organizational consulting firm, in a survey of more than 50 major U.S. retailers. Eighty per cent of retailers who sell essential goods such as groceries and hardware say they expect sales growth, with 20 per cent expecting growth rates of 10 per cent or more. More than half (54 per cent) of non-essential retailers, such as gift and specialty clothing stores, also expect to see an increase in sales. “Big box grocery and home improvement stores saw a temporary surge in sales at the beginning of the pandemic, and many finished the year with double digit sales growth,” says Craig Rowley, a Korn Ferry retail expert. “This year retailers expect steady, ongoing increases as the vaccine becomes more readily available and more people return to their normal shopping habits.” The survey also says that the way people shop may shift permanently. Nearly half (43 per cent) of retailers predict that at least 20 per cent of their sales will be from online shoppers. This is increasing the need for distribution centre workers and 68 per cent of respondents say they are having a difficult time filling those positions. In terms of employee retention, more than three quarters (79 per cent) of retailers say they are actually seeing a decrease in part-time store employee turnover.