Retail Sales Research Brief
Stay-at-Home Climate Delivers Bifurcated Retail Impact
Implications of COVID-19 on retail emerge. Retail sales dropped a record 8.7 percent in March as much of the country shuttered all but essential retailers and social distancing guidelines stemmed traffic at others. Core retail sales, which exclude auto and gas, dipped 3.1 percent, highlighting the divided nature of the strain on retail. March’s figure offers a glimpse into the damage done to retailers by shutting down much of the consumer-based economy. However, April has the potential to see the lowest absolute retail sales during the downturn, while stimulus checks boost sales in May. The average date for statewide stay-at-home orders is March 27 and 18 states enacted the order after April 1 or not at all.