The scene in Los Angeles as retail reopens.

As retail stores slowly amp up their openings, weekly sales remain depressed compared to last year, according to The Retail Economist-Goldman Sachs (TRE-GS) Weekly Chain Store Sales Index, which revealed a year-over-year decline of 16.6 percent for the period ended May 16.

Despite the drop, week-to-week sales are trending slightly up and online sales remain robust across the board, according to data from Emarsys and GoodData.

In the TRE-GS report released today, Michael P. Niemira, chief economist of The Retail Economist LLC, said week-to-week retail sales rose 1.3 percent. “As states have just begun to loosen their lockdowns, which were due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the pace of spending has improved a tad — though it still remains extremely weak on a year-over-year basis,” he said. “Unfortunately, even at the latest week-over-week sales pace and assuming it can be sustained week after week, it still will take 14 weeks to recover from the pandemic’s impact on chain store sales.”

The weekly sales report was released as Walmart reported quarterly sales that jumped 8.6 percent — buoyed by online sales that soared 74 percent. Walmart has remained open throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, offering “essentials” to homebound consumers either in-store, online or via “buy online, pick-up in store.”

In regard to online sales, global data from Emarsys and GoodData’s initiative showed revenue at pure-play and traditional retail sites soaring more than 90 percent for the trailing seven-day period in the U.S. Online sales for most of the Western European countries are also up (except for Spain) while Eastern European countries and Russia remain in the red.

In the U.S., online sales of fashion apparel and accessories continue to trend up, with online revenue at traditional retailers showing an 80 percent gain while pure-play e-commerce sites are up 110 percent. Analysts have noted that retailers are continuing to clear excess apparel inventory with steep markdowns.

For more WWD business news, see:

Reopening Stores Requires Strategic Approach

Consumer Impulse Buys Jump in April

Deloitte ‘Playbook’ Touts Tactics for Store Reopenings

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