Sales Planning Remains Critical for 2021 Retail Success. While the COVID-19 crisis is far from resolved, retail sales forecasts for 2021 are optimistic. The National Retail Federation (NRF) has forecasted that retail sales will grow between 6.5 percent and 8.2 percent in 2021, topping the 6.7 percent growth in 2020. NRF’s chief economist noted that the growth in 2021 is dependent on one key factor: the COVID-19 situation. Read the full alert.