Between the stimulus and the vaccine, retail seems to be on the verge of a return to normalcy. Analysts are predicting a surge in spending as consumers take their stimulus money to stores on trips that don't seem so risky now, thanks to the vaccine. But with all this good news comes a possible problem. Retail is still very far from seeing the end of the pandemic's effects. Supply chain issues such as inventory bottlenecks and shortages could still wreak havoc on the store level. Then there is the question of exactly what types of merchandise retailers should be emphasizing, especially in categories such as apparel. Which pandemic trends are here to stay, and which will recede with the crisis?
The challenge for retailers is trying to predict what people will buy when the world becomes unpredictable.