Retailers gathered in New York City this week for one of the world’s largest retail events after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the NRF’s Big Show online last year. Thousands of attendees returned to the Javits Center on Manhattan’s West Side to learn about the most recent trends and technology driving what NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz characterized as strong growth in the industry despite a “cluster of headwinds.”
At a briefing for press and analysts during the Big Show, Kleinhenz, joined by Wells Fargo Economist Shannon Seery and Brian Nagel, senior research analyst and managing director at Oppenheimer, painted an optimistic picture of the economic environment for retail heading into 2022.
The panel noted supply chain issues persist and inflation has become a significant issue for both businesses and consumers. But Kleinhenz said consumer confidence, the biggest driver of retail sales is on the rise. Seery agreed, noting consumers’ cash position has not been as good as it is now for some time.
Also, while pure online spending kept retailers afloat during the pandemic, all three panelists noted consumers were returning to stores, albeit with altered lifestyles that will force businesses to adapt.
“Retail stores have reopened,” Nagel said. “But the companies that seem to be performing best are the ones offering an omnichannel experience.”