WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. retail sales plummeted 8.7% in March, a record drop as the viral outbreak closed down thousands of stores and shoppers stayed home.
Sales fell sharply across many categories: Auto sales dropped 25.6%, while clothing store sales collapsed, sliding 50.5%.
U.S. consumer confidence has plunged and the vast majority of Americans are hunkered down at home under shelter in place orders.
Grocery store sales, however, jumped by nearly 26% as Americans stocked up on food and consumer goods to ride out the pandemic. A category that includes mostly online sales rose 3.1%.