Blog Retail Foot Traffic and Sales Decline in March

Retail sales are declining across the nation, Placer.ai says, whether it’s as a result of inflation or increased borrowing rates. Perhaps not surprisingly, less people are walking around stores.

In addition to monthly adjusted retail sales declining in March 2023, the company’s study of U.S. Department of Commerce data reveals that monthly retail visits in Q1 2023 were consistently lower than baseline levels in January 2022, based on foot traffic statistics. In December 2022, the average monthly retail foot traffic increased by 28.2% above the baseline. However, in January 2023, it fell to 3.7% below baseline, and in March, it reached 1.1% below baseline.

March saw a 5% decrease in retail traffic nationwide. The retail visit disparity was, however, less than 2.2% in certain areas while exceeding 7.4% in the five worst-affected states. Seven of the ten best-performing states—Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, and Vermont—are located in the Northeast.

Though substantially lower in March than in January or February, foot traffic to fitness, beauty and spa, and theater and music venues exhibited the biggest monthly percentage increases in the first three months of 2023 compared to 2022. Fast food, bargain, and dollar retailers all outperformed 2022, albeit with lower percentage gains.

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