Market news

22 May 2020

Canada’s retail sales decline in line with expectations in March

Statistics Canada reported on Friday that the Canadian retail sales tumbled 10.0 percent m-o-m at CAD47.07 billion in March, following a revised 0.4 percent m-o-m advance in February (originally a 0.3 percent m-o-m gain). That was the largest monthly drop on record.

Economists had forecast a 10.0 percent m-o-m plunge for March.

According to the report, the March decrease was led by record declines at motor vehicle and parts dealers (-35.6 percent m-o-m), clothing and clothing accessories stores (-51.3 percent m-o-m) and gasoline stations (-19.8 percent m-o-m). At the same time, sales at food and beverage (+22.8 percent m-o-m) and general merchandise (+6.4 percent m-o-m) stores rose to the highest level on record and posted their largest monthly gain since the beginning of the series.

Overall, sales were down in 6 of 11 subsectors, representing 39.2 percent of retail trade, as many Canadian retailers shut down operations mid-month, curtailed hours and customer flow in the stores that remained open due to coronavirus pandemic.

In y-o-y terms, Canadian retail sales fell 8.4 percent in March, following a revised 3.1 percent surge in February (originally, a 3.0 percent advance). That was the largest drop in retail trade on record.

Material posted here is solely for information purposes and reliance on this may lead to losses. Past performances are not a reliable indicator of future results. Please read our full disclaimer.

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