IMSEE, the Monaco Statistical Office, has reported that the Principality’s retail trade in the first quarter of 2020 recorded the worst result ever registered. The biggest fall in revenues, as could be expected, was from the middle of March when lockdown was introduced.

Although shops such as Carrefour remained open for essential supplies, non-food outlets were forced to close, resulting in a drop in sales of 60 percent by value.

The retail sector, including car and motorcycle repairs, accounts for 1.5 billion euros in sales in normal times and is the eighth-largest contributor to Monaco’s GDP.

Monaco’s experience was echoed in France, where total economic activity fell by 32 percent in March and 27 percent in April according to the Bank of France. In April, industrial capacity in use varied from 77 percent in the pharmaceutical sector to eight percent in the automotive industry. The hit to French GDP is close to six percent so far, but this will worsen as the economy restarts only partially at first, the Bank said.

ILLUSTRATION: IMSEE graph shows the sharp decline in retail sales in March, 2020