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Americans continue to spend, but retail sales growth is slowing



Nearly 90 percent of its revenue had disappeared, and the company had $ 10 million in food supplies and very few customers. The Bronx-based company, which has about 2,000 employees and 400 trucks, quickly figured out how to turn around and start delivering food to people’s homes instead.

“It was a matter of life or death to be honest,” said Ben Walker, vice president of sales and marketing at Baldor.

Mr Walker said the key to the company’s ability to adapt was that it modernized its online presence a few years ago by allowing restaurants and other food customers to pay with credit cards. The website, which offers high-quality photos of fresh food, allowed Baldor to move relatively smoothly to retail customers during the pandemic.

Yet the company’s adaptation is not a complete replacement for its old business. Sales are still down about 25 to 30 percent from before the pandemic. Although restaurants are returning, hotels and office cafeterias are still largely closed. Some may never reopen.

“We deal in restaurants and hotels,” Mr. Walker said. That’s what we’re made for.

Economists say the full impact of these types of closures on the consumer economy may not be felt for several months when the effects of stimulus measures disappear. The first to cut costs will be the unemployed. But even those with jobs may begin to lose confidence in the economy and stop buying so much.

Mr Anderson of the Bank of the West said many consumers who continue to make large purchases and renovate their homes may not be fully aware of the fragility of the economy, but will inevitably do so.

“I think there is a small phenomenon of deer in the headlights,” Mr Anderson said. “People have problems with their minds about the scale of economic losses.”


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