Going into the pandemic, in February 2020, monthly U.S. retail sales, including food services, were around $526 billion. This plummeted to $407 billion by April 2020. In just two months, retail spending cratered to levels we had not seen in almost a decade. With the help of help of stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits, June 2022 monthly retail sales spiked well above the initial pre-pandemic level to over $680 billion, an increase of 29% in just over two years.
Despite these positives, the retail sector is now hindered by high inflation, a renewed appetite for spending on services (particularly travel-related spending), weak consumer confidence, and the fading impact of government stimulus. Can retail rebound and help heal the economy?
This commentary is published by Cetera Investment Management LLC, an SEC registered adviser owned by Cetera Financial Group. Cetera Investment Management provides market perspectives, portfolio guidance, model management, and other investment advice to its affiliated broker-dealers, dually registered broker-dealers and registered investment advisers.
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