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On Wednesday, the US March retail sales report will be released. Analysts at Wells Fargo forecast a decline of 6%, the largest on record, due to the coronavirus impact. 

Key Quotes: 

“We expect overall sales to plunge 6%, the largest decline on record, but we will also likely see historic increases at grocery stores, warehouse clubs and online vendors. Never before have the shopping habits of U.S. consumers changed so suddenly. Expect volatile numbers, as well as substantial revisions, as the Department of Commerce attempts to accurately track the decline in consumption, as well as its compositional shift.”

“A few notable categories: bars and restaurants typically comprise 12% of retail sales, but are now limited to take-out and delivery across the vast majority of the county. Grocery stores, which usually see very steady sales, are around 12% of sales and saw unprecedented demand in March. Gas stations are 8%, and were hit by simultaneous plunges in both volume, as automobile traffic fell 50% or more, and price, as COVID-19 and OPEC+ maneuverings brought crude oil prices to the lowest levels in nearly 20 years.”