Coronal storyline #3: retail

March 18

From Neil Saunders: 14% of retail shops in the US are closed or closing.

March 16

Data from China for January and February has just come in, and retail sales have dropped 20.5% year over year. This could be a preview of what is happening in the US, as many stores are now closing at a furious pace. USA Today has a roundup:

  1. Apple is closing all stores outside of China until March 27. Employees will continue to be paid. The online store will be open.
  2. Patagonia similarly is closing stores until March 27, and continuing to pay its workers. The online store will be closed as well.
  3. Nike will be closing stores until March 27th.
  4. lululemon, Abercrombie & Fitch, Lush, and Urban Outfitters are likewise closing their stories.
  5. Columbia Sportswear, REI will likewise close. Roundup from Neil Saunders.

At least so far, the stores are continuing to pay employees. If stores remain closed past March 27th, this may change of course.

Malls, department stores, and other establishments are also cutting their hours, even if they are staying open.

On the flip side, sales at grocery stores and big box retailers have been boosted by people stocking up on supplies. Many shelves have been picked clean at Costco, and other stores are having to close early so the shelves can be restocked. There has been a “run” on every day staples such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer. It is unclear how long this panicked buying will last.

CNN: Walmart having trouble keeping shelves stocked

Jacob Robbins

Author: Jacob Robbins

Jacob Robbins is an assistant professor of economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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