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NRF Predicts Moderate Growth for Retail Sales in 2023 Amid Economic Shifts 

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The National Retail Federation (NRF) has unveiled its annual retail sales forecast for 2023, projecting a growth rate of between 4% and 6% in the retail sector. This forecast, announced by NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, anticipates that total retail sales for the year will range from $5.13 trillion to $5.23 trillion. While these figures signify moderation compared to the previous year’s growth, they represent a return to more sustainable, historical levels. 

About NRF
The National Retail Federation
, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies, and ideas that help retail succeed. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring, and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.

Table Of Contents


  • A Remarkable Growth Trajectory.
  • Changing Dynamics of Retail.
  • Online Sales and the Role of Brick-and-Mortar Stores.
  • Economic Outlook.


A Remarkable Growth Trajectory


Over the past three years, the retail industry has experienced extraordinary growth that defies pre-pandemic standards. In 2022, retail sales achieved an impressive 7% annual growth, reaching a total of $4.9 trillion. This growth rate was well above the pre-pandemic average annual retail sales growth rate of 3.6%. The retail sector’s resilience during challenging times has been nothing short of remarkable.

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay emphasized that while growth is expected to moderate in the year ahead, it will remain positive as the retail industry stabilizes to more sustainable levels. Retailers have adapted to the current economic environment by offering a wide variety of products at competitive prices, coupled with exceptional shopping experiences for consumers.

Changing Dynamics of Retail


NRF’s annual sales forecast was unveiled during the third annual State of Retail & the Consumer virtual conversation, where industry leaders, economists, and consumer experts discussed the health of the American consumer and the retail industry. This gathering highlighted the shifting dynamics in the world of retail.

In contrast to the robust 7% growth observed in 2022, the 2023 forecast anticipates a moderation in growth. The projected 4% to 6% growth range is more in line with historical trends. Nonetheless, it reflects a continued positive outlook for the retail industry.


Online Sales and the Role of Brick-and-Mortar Stores


Online and non-store sales continue to play a significant role in driving growth within the retail sector. NRF forecasts these sales to increase by 10% to 12% year over year, reaching a range of $1.41 trillion to $1.43 trillion in 2023. While online shopping remains popular among consumers, a substantial portion of this growth is attributed to multichannel sales. Physical stores continue to be a crucial component of the fulfillment process, contributing to approximately 70% of total retail sales.


Economic Outlook


NRF projects full-year GDP growth of approximately 1% for 2023, reflecting a slower economic pace compared to the 2.1% increase seen in 2022. Inflation is expected to gradually decline but is likely to remain between 3% and 3.5% for all goods and services throughout the year.

Despite the labor market’s resilience, NRF anticipates job growth to slow in the coming months, aligning with reduced economic activity and potential restrictive credit conditions. The unemployment rate is forecasted to exceed 4% before next year.

NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz, Ph.D. acknowledged that despite the purposeful monetary policy measures to curb inflation, aggregate economic activity has remained robust. However, recent developments in the financial markets, the banking sector, and unresolved public policy issues add complexity to the economic outlook.


The NRF’s annual forecast for 2023 suggests that while the retail industry will experience a slowdown in growth compared to the previous year, it remains on a positive trajectory. Online sales, coupled with the enduring role of brick-and-mortar stores, will continue to shape the sector. NRF’s insights provide a valuable understanding of the retail landscape in the face of changing economic dynamics, offering guidance for both retailers and consumers in the year ahead.

At Vndit, we constantly monitor new trends and actively provide small and medium-sized retailers with the necessary tools to achieve operational efficiency and retail excellence.   

If you are thinking about moving to the next phase, you might consider partnering with us to upscale your operations environment. 

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