indicatorThe Owl

Retail sales up and down in March

Normally the largest retail subsector in the province, motor vehicle and parts dealers slipped into second spot behind food and beverage stores.

By ATB Economics 22 May 2020 1 min read

Official statistics showing the unprecedented economic impact of the pandemic continue to trickle in. Seasonally adjusted retail sales in March—when the lockdown was just getting underway—fell by a record-breaking 13.0 per cent in Alberta.

The next largest drop in Alberta since 1991 was in January 2015 when sales fell by 6.0 per cent.

At 10.0 per cent, the drop for Canada as a whole was also the largest on record.

We will have to wait until late June for a tally of provincial retail sales in April when the lockdown was in play for the entire month, but a preliminary estimate for the country as a whole shows an additional drop of 15.6 per cent.

Normally the largest retail subsector in the province, motor vehicle and parts dealers slipped into second spot behind food and beverage stores. On an unadjusted basis, sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers fell by 24.6 per cent in March whereas food and beverage store sales surged by 28.2 per cent.

The largest percentage decline in sales was in the clothing and shoe store subsector with monthly sales down by 45.7 per cent. Furniture store sales were down by 11.0 per cent and gas station sales fell by 9.9 per cent.

Electronics and appliance store sales increased by 16.1 per cent. Sales in the health and personal care subsector (which includes drug stores and pharmacies) spiked by 13.1 per cent.

Sales at cannabis stores rose by 20.8 per cent while sales at beer, wine and liquor stores jumped by 27.9 per cent.

Seasonally adjusted retail sales in March—when the lockdown was just getting underway—fell by a record-breaking 13.0 per cent in Alberta.

Seasonally adjusted retail sales in March—when the lockdown was just getting underway—fell by a record-breaking 13.0 per cent in Alberta.


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