Governor Walz opened up more retail establishments beginning Monday this week. Unacast’s retail dashboard based on foot traffic data reveals a slight thawing of the retail sector as compared to data of April 26 (See week 1 summary at the end of the article)

On April 26, three sectors showed some movement, Home Goods and Furnishing, Groceries and Food Retail, and Auto Dealers and Car Rentals. Except, Home Goods the other two sectors were still lower than a year ago, but they were not frozen solid like most of the country.

On May 5, three more sectors began to show some life General Retail, Miscellaneous Goods and Pets. These three sectors at the national level are still frozen solid. May 6 data at end of post..

Nearby states show different trends, Wisconsin has a warmer Home Goods and Groceries/Food Retail sector and a warming similar to Minnesota except for a frozen Pet sector. Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota have a larger retail footprint, with North Dakota showing the most activity. These three states had less social distancing policies to begin with.

Iowa gets a F grade in social distancing by Unacast and with it declining further yet its retail performance does not show a dramatic increase as compared to Minnesota.

Unacast’s social distancing dashboard gives Minnesota a downgrade to D and holding steady, while North Dakota and South Dakota have a D and declining and Iowa and Wisconsin have an F and declining.

Minnesota’s measured and gradual opening of the retail and social distancing has received a lot of flack. The next few weeks will reveal which strategy worked best for the long haul – namely – will the stronger retail presence in Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota be sustained with their relatively lax social distancing policies? Or will Minnesota be able to weather the storm as it has deepened its capacity to withstand the virus at a cost to commerce and social relationships.

May 6 data shows a warming of retail as Covid 19 cases increases and the state earns a D in social distancing with metro suburbs getting an F. See Unacast data below

Here is data for the first week that shows a strong warming of the retail sector in Minnesota with three sectors showing positive growth – Home Goods, Groceries and General retail.