June 10, 2021 at 10:22PM

U.S. retail sales are anticipated to be up 5.5 percent outside of automotive and gasoline over the important back-to-school shopping season of July 15 to Sept. 6 compared to a similar timeframe in 2020, according to a Thursday (June 10) announcement that cited data from Mastercard SpendingPulse™. Sales were anticipated to be up 6.7 percent over 2019.

In more granular detail, retail sales of apparel are expected to grow by 78.2 percent year over year, while retail sales at department stores are anticipated to grow by 25.3 percent. Retail sales of electronics are expected to grow by 13 percent YOY.

“Back to school has always been a prime season for retailers,” Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and chairman of Saks Incorporated, said in the announcement. “This year, the broader reopening brings an exciting wave of optimism as children prepare for another school year, and the grown-ups in their lives approach a similar ‘return to office’ scenario.”

eCommerce retail sales are expected to drop by 6.6 percent YOY, although they grew by 53.2 percent between 2021 and 2019. U.S. retail sales outside of automotive and gasoline climbed by 12.2 percent YOY in May and by 10.2 percent from May 2019, according to the announcement.

The news comes as the National Retail Federation (NRF) has updated its annual outlook for 2021, now saying that retail sales are likely to grow in the range of 10.5 percent to 13.5 percent, totaling in excess of $4.44 trillion in 2021.

“The combination of vaccine distribution, fiscal stimulus and private-sector ingenuity has put millions of Americans back to work. While there are downside risks related to worker shortages, an overheating economy, tax increases and over-regulation, overall households are healthier, and consumers are demonstrating their ability and willingness to spend,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in an announcement.

Mastercard Projects 78 Pct Pop In Back-To-School Apparel Sales …

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