Retail Sales Fell Again

The U.S. Census Bureau announced that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for December 2020 showed a decline for the third month (Census Bureau)

Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for December 2020 were $540.9 billion

  • DOWN: This was a decline of .7% compared to November
  • UP: The numbers were up 2.9% when compared to December 2019 and total sales for the 12 months of 2020 were up 0.6%

Not all industries are created equal and there is quite the variance between the top and worst-performing industries

  • TOP 3: The top industries that saw growth in December were online retailers (+22.1%), home improvement stores (+14%), and grocery stores (11.2%)
  • BOTTOM 3: The industries that saw the biggest decline were clothing stores (-26.4%), restaurants & bars (-19.5%), and department stores (-18.1%)

Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities LLC, told The Wall Street Journal, December retail sales were “an absolute disaster.” However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom, “no matter how far we fall in the short run, the assumption in financial markets is that we’ll recover once the pandemic ends.”