Beyond the Health Crisis: National Retail Outlook
Third Quarter 2020
Market Looks Toward Recovery as Consumption Strengthens;
Scale of Damage to Retailers Still Evolving
Spending recovers as economy reopens. Stimulus and fewer business restrictions propelled the retail market during the past few months. As the central bank and federal government flooded the economy with liquidity, personal income soared by $1.4 trillion in the second quarter, more than seven times the rise in the first quarter. As a result, retail sales had nearly returned to pre-health crisis levels by midyear. However, several states slowed their reopening process due to a spike in positive COVID-19 tests, which could restrain consumer spending in the final six months of 2020. Meanwhile, less than half of retail trade jobs have been recovered, indicating there may be some potential upside on the employment front.