Home Improvement Sector Has Record Sales

Retail sales reached $55.3 billion in March, an increase of 26.7 per cent compared with the same month a year earlier, says Statistics Canada. This marked the largest increase on record for the sector, due in large part to the sharp declines seen at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Higher sales were reported in 16 of the 19 commodity categories. Strong sales of motor vehicles, coupled with sharp declines at the onset of the pandemic a year earlier, resulted in record growth on a year-over-year basis for the product category (+75.1 per cent). This was the largest gain among all categories in dollar terms. As spring approached, home improvement remained a fixture of the pandemic, resulting in record sales of hardware, tools, and renovation and lawn and garden products, which rose 59.7 per cent compared with the same month a year prior. This growth was due in large part to an increase in sales of renovation materials and supplies, as strong demand and higher prices for lumber resulted in a 56.2 per cent advance year over year. With Canadians preparing to enjoy the summer amid the pandemic, many non-essential products saw strong growth in the month, including recreational vehicles (+111.8 per cent), bicycles and biking equipment and accessories (+107.3 per cent), golf equipment (+297.4 per cent), and hunting, fishing, and camping equipment (+31.9 per cent).