March retail sales log the biggest drop on record

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March retail sales log the biggest drop on record
Image credit: Flickr (CC) / NoirKitsuné

The coronavirus outbreak is bringing a lot of big changes to the economic world. This includes toy sales, too. Latest data shows a big drop in retail sales, the ToyBook reports.

In fact, march retail sales logged the biggest drop on record, shows data from the National Retail Federation and the U.S. Census Bureau. This is a drop for all retail sales, not only toys.

The overall drop is down 8.7% when seasonally adjusted from February. They also record a 6.2% slide unadjusted year-over-year.

“COVID-19 has hit the retail industry unevenly,” says NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “This is a market of haves and have-nots. The haves are the stores that remain open with lines out the doors to buy daily necessities while the have-nots are the stores that have closed and are taking the brunt of the impact of the pandemic. These numbers should come as no surprise given the mandated shutdown of our economy to slow the spread of the virus.”

“March was a month that started out with many stores still open, but far more are closed now,” Kleinhenz adds. “Don’t be surprised if the data going forward shows a worsening situation. Even if the economy begins to reopen in May, consumer behavior may take a long time to adjust. The road to recovery could be long and slow.”

There isn’t a direct report and data for the toy sales numbers. Given the massive drops for other similar, non-essential goods, though, it might be a bad picture. Apparel for example records a 50.5% drop, while sporting goods record a drop of 23.3%.

Grocery stores and general merchandise stores though record new gains. Also did pharmacy sales – 4.3%. Online sales in general jumped 3.1%.

Other, non-final data, did show that there was a big interest for video games and board games when the outbreak was ramping up. Many people got these items for in-house entertainment during the stay-at-home orders. There’s no data to show whether this trend is still going or not.