As Retail Sales Plummet, Grocery Stores, Online Marketplaces Thrive during Pandemic

While data released Wednesday revealed U.S. retail sales dropped to a record low in March, apparently not all industries suffered financial consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

Data from the U.S. Commerce Department reveals grocery store sales skyrocketed by almost 26 percent last month as residents stockpiled food and bathroom supplies to get themselves through stay-at-home orders. Online marketplaces also experienced a spike, seeing a 3.1 percent increase in profits, according to the Commerce Department.

But both sets of numbers could change this month, says Capital Economics official Michael Pearce. “With clear signs of panic buying of necessities, and the fact that lockdowns were introduced only around the middle of the month, means that far worse is to come in April,” he says.

How has the pandemic affected your financial situation? How have your spending habits changed?

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