Mall

Pandemic Pits E-Commerce Giant Amazon Against Big Box Stores, Mall Outlets

For retailers, Q1 earnings might resemble a Charles Dickens novel  as a tale of two sectors: Essential and nonessential—or perhaps brick-and-mortar and e-commerce.

Companies with the goods consumers needed as they hunkered down at home are widely expected to have rung up relatively healthy sales numbers, analysts said. Those that sold discretionary items probably struggled.

And it could be better yet for those essential retailers with strong e-commerce platforms to peddle food, aseptic solutions and even lumber (home repair projects seem popular now as people can’t really go anywhere). Non-store retail sales in March, at the onset of the shutdown throughout the U.S. slipped 3.1%, according to the Commerce Department. That sounds disappointing, but not when you look at overall retail sales that month falling 8.7%, making March the worst month ever for retail sales in data going back to 1992.

As many stockpiled food and filled medicine cabinets and

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