Retail Sales Tumble in April
Retail sales in the U.S. have tumbled across the board due to the impacts of COVID-19. The Census Bureau announced May 15 that retail and food services sales declined 16.4% in April from March, and sales are down 21.6% from April 2019. Economists predicted sales to drop more than 12%, states CNBC.
Much of the despair was in clothing and clothing accessories, which was down nearly 90% from April 2019. April 2020 was the worst month on record as far as percentage declines for all but four categories, according to a release from Wells Fargo Securities. Non-store sales was the only category to improve. "Online sales shot up 8.4% (the second-largest sequential increase on record) to capture 19% of overall retail sales; compared to 12% on average the past two years," states Wells Fargo.
The April Credit Managers' Index from NACM showed sales in the service sector decline more than 20 points to a score of 18.6, this after it sat in the low 60s in January and February. A lot has changed over the last couple months, however; and filings for bankruptcies has started to inch its way into the conversation. The factor slipped into contraction territory at 49.3 after it was comfortably in the 50s the last 12 months. It actually improved in March from February. NACM Economist Chris Kuehl, Ph.D. noted the number will worsen over time as companies find themselves in trouble.
-Michael Miller, managing editor