Despite the reopening of retail outlets across the country as health restrictions eased, Canadian seasonally-adjusted retail sales declined 0.6% to $55.8 billion in July. The overall decline was driven by drops in sales at food and beverage stores (-3.4%) and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (-7.3%). According to Statistics Canada's survey, just 0.5% of retailers were closed at some point in July. Preliminary estimates, based on roughly 50% of respondents reporting so far to the agency, indicate that retail sales rose 2.1% in August.
In BC, sales declined 1.2% after hitting record levels in the prior two consecutive months. Compared to the same month last year, retail sales were up 9.1% in the province. Only food and beverage store sales and health and personal care sales were not up on a year-over-year basis in July. In the Greater Vancouver region, sales dropped by 2.7% month-over-month, but were up 14.9% year-over-year.
In July, Canadian e-commerce sales declined sharply from $3.9 billion to $2.9 billion dollars. As a result, e-commerce declined from 6.2% of total retail sales in June to 4.6% in July. This decline occurred as health restrictions eased across the country and Canadians shifted to brick-and-mortar retail.
Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.