Sales Show Slight Improvement

Industry performance and leading indicators of an improved outlook are top of mind as we enter week 8 of the COVID-19 crisis.

On the restaurant side, sales and visits bottomed out in late March and were down between 60 and 70 percent when compared to pre-COVID trends. Today things have improved so that sales are now “only” down 50 percent as compared with pre-COVID, up from a low of 60-70 percent.

In the chart below, you can see the following:

  • Beginning around March 12, 2020, restaurant sales declined rapidly, and by March 18 week-on week sales were down more than 50%.
  • The decline continued until late March, by which time sales were down ~60-70% from pre-COVID levels.
  • Sales stabilized from late March until around April 7, 2020.
  • Since April 7, 2020, we have seen sales start to recover. Every day (except two of them) has seen higher sales than the previous week. The large spike was caused by Easter Sunday.
  • ‘Overall, restaurant sales are up 10% from the time sales bottomed out in March and are now at approximately 50% of pre-COVID levels.


Restaurant Market Sales and Visit Trends: 3-1-2020 Through 4-26-2020


For our convenience store friends, as expected, the decline and bottoming out of sales has not been as dramatic. In the chart below, you can see the following:

  • The decline was much less dramatic than in restaurants and cumulatively convenience stores saw the bottom at about 30% down from pre-COVID sales figures. The industry experienced a larger decline in fuel gallons than for in-store spend.
  • Sales continued to slide until around April 13, 2020, and then had a week or so of recovery.
  • Over the last few days, we have seen a decline in gas sales, but in-store spending is stable.


Convenience Store Market Sales and Visit Trends: 3-1-2020 Through 4-26-2020


We expect the sales and visits to improve slowly as cities and states navigate through the tricky waters of reopening public, non-essential places of commerce including restaurants.

Paytronix aggregates sales and visit data across more than 400 brands to identify trends and leading indicators. Visit our site for more information on the impact of COVID-19 and market data.

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The Author
Lee leads the Data Insights team and is a self-confessed data geek who can often be found engaging with his team members and digging into all kinds of data.

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