Canada retail sales fall in December, 2021 sales up 12%
Canadian retail sales fell 1.8% to $57 billion in December, on back of transportation halts and supply chain issues due to the Omicron variant and severe flooding in British Columbia and the Atlantic province.
According to Statistics Canada, the pre-Christmas decline was the largest drop in retail sales value since last April, when regions across the country implemented increased Covid-19 restrictions.
For the month of December, retail sales volumes were also down 2.5%. Sales were down in eight of 11 categories, representing 62.9% of retail trade, the agency continued
Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores were down 9.5%, while furniture and home furnishings stores recorded an 11.3% sales plummet.
Core retail sales — which exclude gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers — dipped 2.4 per cent.
Online sales also fell in December, down 14.2% year-over-year to $4.1 billion in December or 6.5 per cent of total retail trade, said the agency.
Retail sales were down in every province in December for the first time since one year prior when many regions across the country faced increased public health restrictions due to increasing Covid-19 case counts.
Despite the holiday season drop, Canadian retailers finished 2021 with $674 billion in sales, up 11.6% from 2020 with increases observed in all subsectors.
The increase comes in the wake of a decline in 2020, when retail sales experienced its largest drop since the 2009 global financial crisis. In volume terms, retail sales increased 8.4% in 2021.
Looking ahead, Statistics Canada said it estimates for January an increase in retail sales of 2.4 per cent for the month.
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