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Back to the mall … but is anyone buying?

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Polaris Fashion Place mall in Columbus, Ohio reopened in May after a state shutdown order.

People are returning to malls, but shopping is another matter. Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images

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After years of sagging retail sales and changing customer habits, now the coronavirus pandemic has the industry fighting for its life.

A number of big-name stores have already declared bankruptcy, and April’s record-breaking 16% drop in retail spending belies even steeper declines in some sectors, like clothing, where sales were off almost 80%. As more states move to partially reopen nonessential businesses, it’s still not clear which businesses will make it out of this crisis.

For our 200th (!) episode, Marketplace retail reporter Marielle Segarra walks us through retail’s hopes for a rebound, what this crisis says about the way Americans shop (like Molly, you might be surprised at how much we don’t buy online) and what’s coming next. Get ready for a mall-walking comeback.

Later, we’ll hear from a listener who’s studying K-shaped recessions, and another who did the numbers (for us!) on when Americans started paying attention to COVID-19.

When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our Alexa explainers, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! Here’s the latest issue.

Here are links to some of the stories we talked about today:

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