May 22, 2020

By Bob Komsic

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Retail sales in the country fell 10% in March; the largest drop on record.
Not surprising given about 40% of retailers closed their doors that month as lockdowns and restrictions took effect.
(Getty Images)
Statistics Canada says just about every kind of retailer suffered.
Clothing stores – down 51%
Vehicle and parts dealers – down 35%
Furniture and home furnishings – down 24%,
Hobby, book and music stores – down 23% 
Gas stations – down 19%.
Conversely, grocery stores saw more business with food and beverage sales up 22%.
General merchandise stores had their best month ever in March with sales up 6.4%
Health and personal care stores saw a 4.6% increase in sales – their highest level on record.
Cannabis sales climbed 19%.
The big winners were online retailers whose sales were 40% higher than March 2019 as Canadians spent $2.2-billion.
The decline in March was twice as bad as the previous record of 4.5% set in February 1998.
Preliminary numbers suggest April’s data will be even worse, down 15.6%
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