Gauging the recovery in retail sales at bars and restaurants

The FRED Blog has discussed how, during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, households cut back on eating out and increased food purchases to prepare meals at home. With data from the U.S. Census Bureau, we created a FRED graph with two lines to compare sales at restaurants and bars with sales at grocery stores.* Today, we use the same Census dataset to re-examine the topic from a different perspective.
The red line in our FRED graph today shows the value of retail sales at restaurants and bars as a fraction of retail sales at grocery stores. We added the black dashed line, with a constant value of 1, to make it easy to see when the two categories of retail sales are equal. And they were essentially equal from March 2019 through February 2020.
In March and April 2020, though, consumers sheltered in place to help reduce the spread of the

Federal Reserve Source

Author: RealEstate