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Retail sales grew nationwide despite pandemic challenges

Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 6:07 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Retail stores across the country spent 2020 on a financial rollercoaster and were forced to find unique ways to sell their products. But the National Retail Federation says that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“We appreciate any help we can get,” said Vicki. “We love our customers,” said Larry.

Vicki and Larry Hubbard own Pepper Creek in Rockford.

“We are a business that offers things that people can use to enhance their home whether it be flowers, plants or home decor,” Vicki said.

When the pandemic hit and forced a temporary shut down, they looked for new ways to sell their products.

“Todd our sales manager he would come out and shoot video for people of what we had. He would put stuff on our Facebook. Bottom line by the time the lock down ended we were doing okay,” Larry said.

National Retail Federation research shows online sales increased by 20% last year with much of the revenue coming during the holiday season.

“November 1 through December 31 capped a strong number for the year that came in at an unexpectedly high 8% more than the holiday season in 2019,” said Matthew Shay, President and CEO of NRF.

Shay says 2021 is also looking up.

“The consumer and economy in our view remain in really good shape,” Shay said.

Shay predicts sales will grow by 6% to 8% with the COVID-19 vaccine injecting some hope into consumers and business owners.

“There is solid data out there to support that reliance and with the announcement of a new vaccine today hopefully on the way to be approved very very quickly that will continue to create the opportunity for more american to protect themselves,” Shay said.

NRF expects 2021 retail sales to reach $4.4 trillion with online sales making up about a quarter of that total.

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