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The pandemic isn’t over, but you wouldn’t know it from sales trends

July 27, 2021, 10:15 PM UTC

It’s not just toilet paper that’s a lot easier to find these days.

While COVID-19 cases are on the rise and more restrictions and stringent guidelines are returning, consumers are shifting their shopping and other habits to pre-pandemic levels.

UPS, for instance says it’s shipping fewer packages these days. Average daily shipping volume in the second quarter was down 0.8% globally and 2.9% in the U.S. compared with a year ago, the first quarterly drop since 2011.

The maker of Lysol, meanwhile, has gone from struggling to keep products on shelves to seeing a notable slowdown in demand, compounded with rising inflation. Reckitt Benckiser Group, the parent company of Lysol and other products, reported a 1% fall in sales on Tuesday and warned that the third-quarter sales drop could be even more steep.

Sales of Lysol and Dettol soap and wipes are still above pre-pandemic levels, but nowhere near the demand they saw last year. Sales of the company’s hygiene products are down by more than a third in the U.S. since early March.

Not everyone is ready to go back to the old way of living, though. Costco planned to end its senior shopping hours on July 26, but faced with an outcry from older and at-risk customers, the retailer reversed course. It will now offer those hours two days a week instead of five, only letting seniors, people with disabilities, and immunocompromised people into stores on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.

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