Canadian Retail Sales Plummeted in April Amid Third Wave of Covid-19 Restrictions

Retail sales across Canada were sent plunging downwards at the beginning of the second quarter, as a number of key regions tightened public health restrictions in face of a third wave of Covid-19.

According to Statistics Canada, sales at retail stores fell 5.7% to $54.8 billion in April, marking the sharpest drop in a year and the second largest decline on record. Sales were down across 9 of the 11 subsectors, while core retail sales— which do not take sales at gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers into account— decreased 7.6%.

Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores fell 28.6% in April, as 22% of stores were temporarily closed for an average of five days due to heightened public health restrictions. General merchandise stores reported that sales levels fell 8.1%, marking the largest drop since the beginning of the pandemic in April 2020. However, despite the decline, only 0.6% of general merchandise stores had shut their doors in April.

For the first time in nine months, building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers saw sales fall 10.4%. Even amid the monthly decline, though, sales still surpassed February 2021 levels. Similarly, sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers were down 1.4%, while sales at gasoline stations declined 4.1%.

Statistics Canada also reported that retail e-commerce rose by an unadjusted 7.4% year-over-year in April, accounting for 7% of all retail trade.

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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