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Retail Conditions Report

Each quarter, Retail Council of Canada surveys members from coast to coast to bring you the latest news on the retail industry's performance across Canada. The Retail Conditions Report provides members with valuable, real-time insight into consumer behaviour, best practices in retailing, trends and economic conditions.

Holiday 2020

“The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be”

A solid fall gives way to COVID-19 Wave II lockdowns during the most critical sales period of a challenging year, with a long winter ahead

Retailers spent the last six months preparing for a most unusual holiday season.  Between adapting their in-store protocols to keep their people safe, flexing the business to obtain record eCommerce volumes, and preparing for Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotional events amid a pandemic, they worked hard to be as ready as possible for whatever the pandemic threw at them. Depending on format and commodity, merchants were either chasing inventory or chasing sales. Downtown stores that relied on commuter traffic or office workers were under tremendous pressure. Locations in the suburbs did better. The fall started well, with an elongated Back-to-School season creating momentum. Unfortunately, the second wave of COVID-19 that retailers feared hit the population in almost all provinces except the Atlantic bubble.

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