On Thursday, the U.S. Census Bureau released their latest data on estimated retail and food services sales for June. Estimated numbers are based on early reports from a small sampling of companies selected from the larger Monthly Retail Trade Survey (MRTS) sample. You can view the Advance Monthly Sales for Retail and Food Services, June 2020 here.

Overall, estimated sales for food and retail were $524.3 billion, which is an increase of 7.5 percent from May of this year ($487.7 billion) and a 1.1 percent increase year-over-year from June 2019’s numbers ($518.6 billion). However, total sales for April through June of this year were down 8.1 percent as compared to the same period in 2019.

Looking at the adjusted numbers, we find some interesting movement, with big April-through-June gains in certain industries, though most industries still lag behind 2019 numbers.

Clothing and accessories stores

Clothing and accessories stores have had a substantial recovery from a shockingly low $3.0 billion in sales in April to $8.3 billion in May to $17.1 billion in June. Compare that to June 2019 when the industry raked in $22.3 billion in sales.

So, while clothing retailers are definitely moving in the right direction, when you compare these figures to last year’s numbers, the news is still sobering. Looking at the six-month totals for 2019 versus 2020, clothing industry sales have plummeted 39.3 percent.

Food and beverage stores

This category includes both grocery stores and beer/wine/liquor stores. Food/beverage store sales cooled off a bit in June, but are still showing growth versus last year. May sales were at $72.7 billion and then dropped slightly to $71.8 billion in June.

But compare those numbers to June 2019, when food and beverage store sales were $63.9 billion, and you can see that the vertical is still seeing promising year-over-year growth.

Non-store retailers (online sellers)

It’s not surprising that online sales are through the roof right now. In June of 2019, the industry had $67 billion in sales, but in June of this year, they had a whopping $82.8 billion in sales. While June’s numbers were down slightly from May’s figures ($84.8 billion), the industry is still a shining star in the nation’s economic picture with its six-month total growing 18.4 percent over the same period in 2019.

Food services and drinking places

Restaurants and bars have been among the most publicized and visible of the industries hard-hit by the pandemic, and while June’s numbers show a glimmer of hope, sales are still way off from 2019.

In April of this year, restaurants and bars had just $30.0 billion in sales. May’s numbers ticked up slightly to $39.5 billion, and then June rose to $47.4 billion in sales. Compare those numbers to last year when the industry had sales of $63.7 billion in May and $64.4 billion in June. So, while the trend is moving in the right direction in recent months, there is still a lot of pain being felt by businesses in these industries.

Motor vehicle and parts dealers

Automobile and auto parts sales took a big hit early on in the pandemic, but companies in these industries have rebounded with zeal. April sales were at a paltry $68.5 billion, but jumped to $101.8 billion in May and then an astounding $110.2 billion in June. Compare that to June of 2019, which had $102.6 billion in sales.

This growth in auto sales reflects good deals on new cars and low interest rates, as well confidence among consumers who have been less affected by the pandemic.

You can learn more about how these and other industries have been impacted by COVID-19 by visiting our free COVID-19 webpage.

Photo: Alexander Kovacs via Unsplash