COVID-19 Pushing Already Struggling Retailers Over the Edge

Many wonder if the coronavirus will finish what the retail apocalypse already started

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Retailers are seeing an historic blow in sales.

We’re seeing the worst declines in sales on record, as far back to 1967, and health officials say we haven’t even reached the peak of this pandemic.

So, what can we expect on the other side when things do start to improve, stay at home orders are lifted, and stores are allowed to reopen?

For many of us, it’s really hard to imagine what the future may hold at this point.

Best Buy, which closed its doors on March 22nd is the latest big box retailer to announce massive furloughs. About 51,000 hourly employees will be furloughed starting Sunday.

They will keep their health benefits, and curbside pick-up and online sales for Best Buy will continue.

CNBC reports March retail sales fell 8.7%, a record drop, with the only sign of activity at grocery and beverage stores, which saw sales grow by more than 25%.

NBC 5 spoke to a financial analyst to get some insight into the future of big retail business. Derrick Kinney says when it comes to retail, we’re about to see a big shift in consumer behavior.

“Obviously the online companies are thriving right now, and one thing to note, we’re likely to see consumers changing their buying behavior as a result of this. If you’re used to buying online for two or three months, you’re probably going to keep doing that once the crisis is over,” said financial advisor, Derrick Kinney. “We’re likely to see many other habits change when you think about food delivery, if you need a service, have that brought to your house, all those things are changing,” said Kinney. “Even how we watch our electronic media, those pieces are now changing as well. So I think we’re in store for not just a lot of economic changes, but lifestyle and cultural changes until this averts.”  

Kinney says some of the well-established names that we’ve all shopped with for many years will likely shrink or dramatically change how they do business over the next several months.

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