Retailing & Chain Stores OVERVIEW
Retail sales in the U.S.
totaled an estimated $6.21 trillion (on a broad basis) during 2019, according to the U.S.
Census Bureau, up about 3% for the year, and up dramatically from only $4.0 trillion during 2009.
(Sales at stores selling general merchandise, apparel, furniture and specialty items, referred to as “GAFO,” totaled $1.30 trillion in 2019.
GAFO is an important distinction.
In contrast, retail sales of all types are considered to include automobiles, gasoline and restaurants.) Unfortunately, retailing was one of the industries hardest hit by the global Coronavirus pandemic.
Customer traffic plummeted at most categories of retail stores that sell non-essential items such as fashion and jewelry.
Nonetheless, a few categories saw soaring sales increases.
In the U.S., for example, sales boomed at supermarkets, discount department stores such as Walmart and home improvement centers such as Home Depot.
Consumer interests, needs and shopping habits changed dramatically.
Consumers with internet access shifted much of their shopping to online methods.
Households where people were lucky enough to keep their jobs and had money to spend were investing in goods that made working from home easier and sheltering at home more entertaining. Retailing, and its sister business sector of restaurants, saw millions of jobs disappear.