Fed: April Retail Sales Fell 16.4% — Largest Decline on Record

New data from the U.S. Commerce Department revealed April retail sales plummeted 16.4% — the largest monthly decline on record due to economic shutdowns nationwide as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The drop resulted in a loss of $403.9 billion in revenue. In March, sales fell 8.3%.

Retail trade sales were down 15.1% from March, and 17.8% below a year ago. Clothing and clothing accessories stores were down 89.3% from April 2019, while non-store retailers (i.e. e-commerce) were up 21.6% from a year ago.

“Due to recent events surrounding COVID-19, many businesses are operating on a limited capacity or have ceased operations completely,” the department said in an understatement.

May retail numbers are scheduled for release on June 16.

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U.S. Retail Sales in March Dropped to 30-Year Low

As could be expected during a healthcare pandemic that has seen the global economy come to a halt, new data from the U.S. Commerce Department said domestic retail sales in March dropped 8.7% — the largest decline in 30 years.

With nearly 17 million Americans filing for unemployment during the past three weeks, and countless stores and businesses either shuttered or operating on reduced schedules, the impact on the economy isn’t surprising.

Indeed, clothing sales plummeted 51%, with food services down 23%, furniture/home furnishings off 25% and consumer electronics/appliances down 25%.

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On the flipside, businesses operating grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential items, all saw sales increases upwards of 29%.

The decline comes a day after the International Monetary Fund suggested the global economy could be a downturn not seen since the 1929 Great Recession.

Meanwhile, non-store retail, which includes Amazon, saw sales increase 9.7%.

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