OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Retail sales fell 26.4 per cent to $34.7 billion in April from March, leaving them down 33.6 per cent since physical distancing measures were implemented in mid-March.
Statistics Canada says about one-third of retailers were closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While essential services like grocery stores remained open, most retailers did not offer in-store shopping in April due to public health restrictions meant to slow the spread of the pandemic.
Motor vehicle and parts took the largest hit, while online sales surged to a record high, representing 9.5 per cent of the total retail market. Many businesses started or expanded their online presence and curbside pick-up services in response to the closures.
Economists on average had expected a drop in April of 15.1 per cent, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.
Richard Dettman will have more in Business at :26 and :56.