Headline Retail Sales Dive in Canada, But Core Sales Hold Up

The retail sales report for March from Canada was released a while ago. Last year, retail sales were sort of volatile, turning positive and negative from month to month. But, with the lock-down due to the coronavirus, everything has one downhill all across the globe. Sales posted a massive decline for March, but the core sales only posted a small decline. Below is the retail sales report for March:

Canada March Retail Sales Data

  • February core sales was +0.3%
  • First decline in five months
  • Ex autos -0.4% vs -4.8% expected
  • Reports says “about 40% of retailers closed their doors during March”
  • Retail e-commerce +16.3%
  • Motor vehicle and parts dealers -35.6%
  • Food and beverage +22.8%
  • Statistics Canada estimates that April retail sales fell 15.6%

The ex-autos headline was much stronger than anticipated but March is ancient history at this point and I don’t think it matters. Canadians reacted to the pandemic about the same as everyone else. The E-commerce and the food and beverage sales increased considerably. Although, the estimates for April are much worse, as the last pointer shows, so the worst is yet to come.

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