March retail sales fall nearly 9% as pandemic takes toll on most shopping

U.S. retail sales dropped 8.7% in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported Wednesday.

The drop is the largest in history and comes with more than 250,000 stores are closed nationwide, the Associated Press reports.

From February to March, clothing store sales fell by 51%. Restaurants and bars lost nearly 27% in revenue. One bright spot was grocery stores, which saw sales expand 26% as more Americans at ate home.

Economists at JPMorgan Chase now forecast the economy will shrink 40% in the second quarter.

Fitch Ratings predicts discretionary spending by shoppers collapsing up to 50% in the first half of the year.

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