BALTIMORE , United States (AP) — US retail sales tumbled by a record 16.4 per cent from March to April as business shutdowns caused by the coronavirus kept shoppers away, threatened the viability of stores across the country and further weighed down a sinking economy.
The Commerce Department’s report yesterday on retail purchases showed a sector that has collapsed so quickly that sales over the past 12 months are down a crippling 21.6 per cent. The severity of the decline is unrivalled for retail figures that date back to 1992. The monthly decline in April nearly doubled the previous record drop of 8.3 per cent — set just one month earlier.
“It’s like a hurricane came and levelled the entire economy, and now we’re trying to get it back up and running,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief US economist for the consultancy Maria Fiorini Ramirez.