Retail sales plummeted 7% in 2020, the first and biggest drop since the previous crisis

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Retail sales plummeted 6.8% in 2020 due to the pandemic. It is the biggest decline since 2012 and the first drop since the last economic crisis, according to the data published this Friday by the National Institute of Statistics (INE).

This collapse is due to the restrictions derived from the health crisis. In fact, although all the communities decreased their sales, the most touristy areas, such as the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, accumulated the greatest drops (15% and 14%, respectively). Catalonia follows, with a 9% drop.


The store had been adding sales growth for six years. But this year, from March to May it was closed and many autonomous communities now have restrictions, either space or hours.


In fact, retailers have been accumulating declines for 10 months in a row. Not even December was spared, despite the Christmas campaign and a period in which sales are very rare to subside. On this occasion, they fell 0.6%, compared to the decrease of 5.9% in the previous month.

Regarding employment, the sector recorded a 2.4% drop in employment in 2020, after falling 3.7% in the interannual rate last December, three tenths less than in November.

By type of store, small chains are the most penalized, with an annual decrease of 17%, compared to 8.5% of drops in single-location (independent) establishments. Large chains grew by 2.8%, which is explained by the fact that supermarkets were able to open during the entire confinement.

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