Yesterday, StatCan released its national retail sales report for the month of April, showing a predictably large gain of +56.7% over the same period in 2020.
Sales were nevertheless disappointing compared to March, showing a decline of -5.7% and settling below StatCan’s preliminary prediction of -5.1%. Core retail sales also fell -7.6% month-on-month, which marked the largest decline in a year and the second largest decline on record. The hardest hit regions were Ontario, where sales declined -13.4%, and Quebec, which fell by -1.8%.
Nationally, 5% of retailers were closed at some point in April, compared with approximately one-third of retailers being closed at the same time last year. The average length of the shutdown was one day, compared with eight days in April 2020.
StatCan’s preliminary estimate for May is a further -3.2% month-on-month decline.