US retail sales plunge by record 8.7% in March amid coronavirus shutdown

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. (Photo by Robin Pope/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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%.

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