Even when the Great Recession dampened consumer confidence and drove up unemployment things weren’t as bad for retailers as they have been during the current COVID-19 crisis, according to a new analysis from Retail Metrics. Days after the World Health Organization declared a pandemic in March, retailers across the U.S. were forced to shut their doors for many weeks to help stem the spread of the virus. The result: The retail sector’s first-quarter operating income fell 57.7% compared with last year – and 71.1% when not including Walmart, which was allowed to keep operating to sell essential items like food, a new report said Friday. This marks the worst retail earnings performance since the group began tracking retail earnings in the late 1990s. Read more at CNBC.