Retail Sales Drop In April

Retail sales were down 5.7 per cent to $54.8 billion in April, says Statistics Canada. The decline co-incided with the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and was the largest decline in retail sales since April 2020 during the first wave of the pandemic. Sales decreased in nine of 11 subsectors, representing 74.2 per cent of retail trade. Core retail sales ‒ which exclude gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers ‒ decreased 7.6 per cent. In volume terms, retail sales decreased 5.6 per cent in April. Based on respondent feedback, five per cent 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. Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers declined for the first time in nine months (-10.4 per cent). Despite the decline, sales remained above levels reached in February 2021. The decline comes after record sales of hardware, tools, and renovation and lawn and garden products in March.