Dec 20, 2020
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Canadian retail sales rise, but not clothing

Dec 20, 2020

Canadian retail sales continued to rise in October, but it’s not clothing and accessories retailers who benefitted. 

Sales at clothing stores remained 12 percent below their year-ago level - Facebook: Aritzia

Statistics Canada reported on Friday total retail sales for the month of $54.6 billion, marking the sixth consecutive monthly increase since the record decline in April, with much of the sales growth attributed to motor vehicle and parts dealers.

Core retail sales edged up 0.3 percent in October, as furniture and home furnishing stores saw sales gains of 6.6 percent, sporting goods, hobby and book stores of 11.8 percent, and building materials and garden equipment retailers of 2.9 percent. 

On the other hand, sales trended down in the clothing and accessories categories dropping by 2.1 percent. Sales at clothing stores remained 12 percent below their year-ago level.

Likewise, sales were lower at food & beverage stores, down 1.5 percent, general merchandise stores, down 0.7 percent, and electronic and appliance stores, down 0.6 percent. 

By province, sales rose 2.1 percent in British Columbia and 1.1 percent in Alberta. In B.C, health and personal care stores, as well as building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers both contributed the most to the increase. 

In contrast, sales in Ontario fell for the first time since April by 0.4 percent, coinciding with a record number of Covid-19 cases and stricter public health measures within the province. The decrease was led by clothing and accessories stores. In the CMA of Toronto, sales were down 1.2 percent. New Brunswick also reported a decline of 4.3 percent, on lower sales at general merchandise stores.

Looking ahead, Statistics Canada said its advance outlook for November is that retail activity is expected to remain relatively unchanged.

Still, this may be the last bit of good news for retailers as Covid-19 cases remain high and continue to increase across much of the country. Restrictions are again intensifying with much of Quebec and Ontario currently preparing for more forced closures after Christmas.

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