The National Retail Federation is projecting a message of optimism that many retailers desperately need as it forecasts an increase in holiday sales. Online sales are expected to rise considerably amid the pandemic, contributing to the overall bump in forecasted sales.

The NRF issued a press release on Monday with its forecast for the holiday shopping season. The NRF commented on increased consumer resilience, which so far has resulted in rebounding sales figures. Because of that resilience, the NRF is forecasting a 3.6-5.2% increase in retail sales compared to 2019.

"We know this holiday season will be unlike any other, and retailers have planned ahead by investing billions of dollars to ensure the health and safety of their employees and customers," says NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "Consumers have shown they are excited about the holidays and are willing to spend on gifts that lift the spirits of family and friends after such a challenging year. We expect a strong finish to the holiday season, and will continue to work with municipal and state officials to keep retailers open and the economy moving forward at this critical time."

Much of that rebound will be online, according to the NRF, which is projecting a 20-30% increase in online sales.

The surge in online sales will likely come as a result of the increasing focus many retailers are putting into their online storefronts as the holiday shopping season gets underway. For example, as previously covered by Passport to Wall Street, Walmart (WMT  ) is spreading its Black Friday sales across much of November, with a particular focus on online sales to keep crowds down at its physical locations.

In general, the push by many retailers to spread out Black Friday sales across November and December will likely drive traffic and sales up. Even as many Americans face reduced income as CARES Act aid dries up, others have returned to work, or have additional shopping funds due to a lack of travel, and due to the decreased pressure to shop on specific days, may be able to participate in more sales.