The National Retail Federation released its forecast for holiday season retail sales, expecting growth of 3.6% to 5.2% in 2020, reaching between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion. The forecast, which is being announced about a month later than usual due to uncertainty from coronavirus pandemic, excludes gas stations, auto dealers and restaurants. It's also higher than recent averages, with 2019 sales increasing 4% to $729.1 billion. Average holiday sales rose 3.5% over the past five years. "Consumers have responded positively to other holidays" like Halloween and Mother's Day, said NRF Chief Executive Matthew Shay on a call with media. "We've seen consumers very engaged to celebrate and move into real consumption mode around the holidays." The NRF does leave room for a loss of momentum due to the recent surge in coronavirus cases and the possibility for further restrictions. However, with many consumers longing to celebrate and increased savings from a decline in spending on other things like travel, the retail trade association expressed confidence that shoppers will come out. "Consumers have experienced a difficult year but will likely spend more than anyone would have expected just a few months ago," said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF's chief economist in a statement. "After all they've been through, we think there's going to be a psychological factor that they owe it to themselves and their families to have a better-than-normal holiday." E-commerce sales are expected to grow 20% to 30% to reach as much as $218 billion, up from $170 billion last year. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF /zigman2/quotes/206947004/composite XRT +0.33% has gained 28.5% for the year to date. The Amplify Online Retail ETF /zigman2/quotes/206522380/composite IBUY +0.60% has soared 96.5%. And the benchmark S&P 500 index [s:spx] is up 10.2% for the period.