Retail sales plunges deep in March due to COVID-19
Shady Salah – Media in Toronto
Canadian retail sales collapsed in March as they posted their biggest monthly decline on record as Statistics Canada warned an even bigger drop is expected for April as closures due to pandemic ran the entire month. Retail sales fell 10.0 per cent to $47.1 billion in March as non-essential businesses began to shut their doors mid-month due to the pandemic.
It estimated about 40 per cent of retailers closed their doors during the month, according to Statistics Canada. However, Statistics Canada also said a preliminary estimate for April indicates a 15.6 per cent drop for the first full month of the pandemic.
Record declines were also reported for clothing and clothing accessories stores and gasoline stations as they fell 51.3 per cent and 19.8 per cent respectively. But while Canadians stopped buying some things, sales of others soared as shoppers stocked up on household essentials. Food and beverage stores, which gained 22.8 per cent, and general merchandise stores, which climbed 6.4 per cent, rose to their highest levels on record and posted their largest monthly gains. Excluding motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales were down 0.4
per cent for the month.