New Report Shows Biggest Retail Sales Drop in 30 Years of Record-Keeping

Advance estimates show an 8.7 percent decline over the previous month.

By Staff April 15, 2020

Image: Shutterstock

According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Retail Trade report, retail sales in March fell more sharply than they have during any other point in the bureau's three decades of record-keeping. According to the report, advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for March 2020, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $483.1 billion, a decrease of 8.7 percent from the previous month, and a decrease of 6.2 percent from March 2019. Retail trade sales were down 6.2 percent from February 2020, and 3.8 percent below last year. Food and beverage stores were up 28.0 percent from March 2019, while clothing and clothing accessories stores were down 50.7 percent from last year. Many experts say those figures will almost certainly be worse this month, because most states didn't shut down non-essential businesses until late March or early April.

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