CCentral-Main-logo-EN-trans

Convenience Central
Join our community
extra content

Statistics Canada says retail sales plunged 26.4% in April

Retail sales fell by more than a quarter in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Statistics Canada said Friday that they regained some of the lost ground in May.

The agency said retail sales plunged by a record 26.4% to $34.7 billion in April leaving them down 33.6% since physical distancing measures were implemented in mid-March.

However, Statistics Canada said early estimates suggest retail sales rose 19.1% in May.

Economists on average had expected a drop in April of 15.1%, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter said April is cementing its reputation as the worst month for the Canadian economy ever.

“The Canadian economy, and retail trade specifically, looks to have been hit even harder than initially estimated as well as the U.S. economy through the shutdowns,” Porter wrote in a note.

“It’s a long road back from these April lows.”

While essential services like grocery stores remained open, most retailers did not offer in-store shopping in April due to public health restrictions meant to slow the spread of the pandemic.

However, many retailers started or expanded their online presence and curbside pick-up services in response to the closures.

Statistics Canada says online sales surged to a record high, representing 9.5% of the total retail market.

TD Bank economist Ksenia Bushmeneva said while spending is expected to begin to rebound in the coming months, the “where’s and what’s” of consumer spending is likely to differ from the pre-pandemic time.

“As we have highlighted in our recent report, consumer spending patterns have undergone quite the transformation in recent months.

“As expected, consumers are spending considerably less on travel and lodging, eating out, gasoline and clothing, but considerably more on home renovation and food. Online shopping also continues to rule the day, remaining far more prevalent than it was prior to the health crisis.”

Sales were down in all 11 subsectors in April, while motor vehicle and parts dealers took the largest hit in dollar terms as the sector fell 44.3% for the month.

Sales at food and beverage stores fell 12.7% as supermarkets and other grocery stores saw a drop of 12.0% compared with March when Canadians stocked up.

Retail sales in volume terms fell a record 25.2% in April, following an 8.2% drop in March, leaving them down 31.3% since the onset of the pandemic

 


Shutterstock

Canadian retail sales fell 10% in March, April expected to be worse

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Statistics Canada says retail sales in Canada posted their biggest monthly decline on record in March and warned that the drop for April will eclipse that loss.

The agency says retail sales fell 10.0% to $47.1 billion in March as non-essential businesses began to shut their doors mid-month due to the pandemic.

The drop was in line with economists’ expectations of 10 per cent, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Statistics Canada also says a preliminary estimate for April indicates a 15.6% drop for the first full month of the pandemic.

The March decline came as sales plunged at motor vehicle and parts dealers, clothing and clothing accessories stores and gasoline stations, while sales at grocery stores soared.

Excluding motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales were down 0.4% for the month.


Screen Shot 2019-11-26 at 9.54.04 AM

Statistics Canada says retail sales fell 0.1% in September

Retail sales fell 0.1% in September to $51.6 billion, weighed down by lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations, Statistics Canada said Friday.

The result matched the expectations of economists, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

“All told, the Canadian consumer continues to look a bit tired, and the broader economy remains on pace for slightly below potential growth in the near term,” said Robert Kavcic, a senior economist at the Bank of Montreal.

The overall decline came as sales in the motor vehicle and parts dealers subsector fell one% due to a 1.9% drop at new car dealers. Sales at gasoline stations fell 2.3%, due in part to lower prices.

Statistics Canada says excluding these two subsectors, retail sales rose 0.7%.

“The ongoing strength in Canadian labour markets, the recent momentum in housing markets and wages, and the downshift in borrowing rates may have provided a modest lift to consumer spending,” TD Bank economist Omar Abdelrahman wrote in a report.

“Still, elevated household debt levels and associated debt-servicing costs will continue to cap any meaningful acceleration in retail sales or consumer spending.

Sales at food and beverage stores rose 1.2%, boosted by a 1.1% increase at supermarkets and other grocery stores and a 3.2% increase at beer, wine and liquor stores. Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers saw sales rise 3.3%.

Overall retail sales in volume terms fell 0.1%.

The retail sales figures come ahead of wholesale trade results for September to be released on Monday and a reading of gross domestic product for both September and the third quarter as a whole out on Nov. 29.

The Canadian economy set a blistering pace in the second quarter, but economists expect growth slowed in the third quarter amid evidence of a slowing global economy, hurt by the U.S.-China trade war.


Statistics Canada reports retail sales edged down 0.1% in August

Statistics Canada says retail sale fell 0.1% in August to $51.5 billion as sales at food and beverage stores dropped.

Economists on average had expected an increase of 0.4% for August, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Statistics Canada says sales at food and beverage stores fell 0.8% in August, the first move down from the sector in three months. Sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores fell 0.8%, while beer, wine and liquor stores dropped 1.9% and convenience stores edged down 0.1%. Sales at specialty food stores increased 2.3%.

Meanwhile, sales at gasoline stations fell 0.4% as a result of lower prices at the pump, while gasoline sales rose 2.8% in volume terms.

Sales at general merchandise stores gained 0.8% and motor vehicle and parts dealers rose 0.1%.

In volume terms, retail sales increased 0.2% in August.