Canadian Retail Sales Jump 3.6% in March But New Covid-19 Restrictions Reverse Gains in April

Retail sales jumped 3.6% in March, as a number of key regions across Canada reopened their local economies between the second and third wave of the pandemic. However, according to Statistics Canada’s preliminary estimate for April, the positive momentum did not last, as April’s retail sales slumped 5.1%.

March retail sales totalled $57.6 billion, amid increased sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, as well as at clothing and clothing accessories stores. Sales were up across 10 of the 11 subsectors, while core retail sales— which do not account for sales at gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers— increased 4.7%.

Core retail sales were up for the second consecutive month, rising 4.7% in March amid higher sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, which jumped 19.8%. This marked the sharpest increase since May 2020, and was likely due to to unseasonably warm weather as well as the relaxation of some Covid-19 restrictions across key regions in the country.

Similarly, sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores also increased for the second consecutive month, rising by 23.6% in March to the highest level since the beginning of the pandemic. On the other hand, though, food and beverage stores declined 1.3%, marking the third decrease in four months.

In the meantime, Canada’s retail e-commerce sales jumped 58.5% from year-ago levels to $3.7 billion March. However, the share of e-commerce sales relative to total retail sales slumped 0.7% as an increased number of brick-and mortar stores were allowed to open to in-person shopping.

Information for this briefing was found via Statistics Canada. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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