Nationwide sales of retail, food services plummet in March, April amid social distancing, stay-at-home orders

As many businesses are operating on decreased capacities or have shut down completely, one side effect is a dip in monthly sales for retail and food services. (Courtesy Fotolia)
As many businesses are operating on decreased capacities or have shut down completely, one side effect is a dip in monthly sales for retail and food services. (Courtesy Fotolia)

As many businesses are operating on decreased capacities or have shut down completely, one side effect is a dip in monthly sales for retail and food services. (Courtesy Fotolia)

As many businesses are operating on decreased capacities or have shut down completely, one side effect is a dip in monthly sales for retail and food services.

U.S. Census Bureau data released May 15 reports $403.9 billion in April sales nationwide due to limitations in place in response to the coronavirus, a decrease of 16.4% from March.


This figure is 21.6% lower than sales in April 2019, according to census data. The data also showed a month-over-month decrease of 8.3% in March, with a total of $483.5 billion in spending.

When social distancing orders began going into effect across the country in March and people began experiencing job losses or diminished wages, total sales in the U.S. plummeted.

For more information, visit census.gov or https://fred.stlouisfed.org.
By Beth Marshall
Born and raised in Montgomery County, Beth Marshall graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in communication and a minor in business. Originally hired as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in 2016, she became editor of the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition in October 2017.