Yesterday, the US Census Bureau reported a 1.3% decrease in May US retail sales month over month. Although this sounds worrisome, comparing the sales with pre-pandemic 2019 shows a remarkable recovery has taken place. Businesses hurt the most, such as furniture stores (-27% in 2020), clothing stores (-62%), and restaurants & bars (-39%), are already selling more than before the pandemic.
E-commerce is a clear pandemic winner, and continues to be strong, with year-over-year sales up 8.6%. Others are also holding up well, with grocery & liquor store sales 16% above pre-pandemic levels and showing no decline since last year, despite a sharp rise in restaurant and bar sales. It’s safe to say that the US is back in business.
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