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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