Expectations for this morning’s March Retail Sales report were already low but not low enough.  While economists were expecting the headline reading to fall 8.0%, the actual result was even weaker at -8.7%.  On the bright side (if you can even say that) readings ex Autos and Ex Autos and Gas were both better than expected.

The overall economic impact of the COVID outbreak is obviously negative, but there have been some big winners (and even bigger losers), and this month’s Retail Sales report illustrated some of these major shifts. Looking through the various sales trends in our monthly update there were some crazy looking charts, but two that especially stood out were Clothing and Food and Beverage Stores. In the case of Clothing, its 50% decline took the monthly sales rate to the lowest level since 1995. Meanwhile, sales at Food and Beverage Stores took off. With people forgoing clothes in favor of food, no wonder everyone is looking like slobs these days!

For anyone with more than a passing interest in how the economic shutdown is impacting economic data, our monthly update on retail sales is a must-read.  To see the report, sign up for a monthly Bespoke Premium membership now!

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