A Year in Review – Canadian Retail Industry

2021 was a year of ongoing turbulence and recovery for the Canadian retail industry.

With Ontario and most of the country under some form of lockdown, stay-at-home order, or safety restrictions for the better half of 2021, the first few months of the year proved to remain turbulent for the Canadian retail industry.

As new COVID-19 cases peaked during the fall of 2020, retail shops and other restrictions made shopping during the holidays and the new year a challenge.

Coming out of the 2020 holiday season, retail sales fell for a second consecutive month.

However, since people weren’t allowed to visit brick-and-mortar stores, eCommerce took the lead, with retail eCommerce sales up 110.7% year over year in January of 2021.

According to Statistics Canada, retail sales were down 5.7% to $54.8 billion in April 2021. This decline coincided with the third wave and was the biggest decline in retail sales since April 2020, when the first wave of the virus hit Canada.

The largest declines in sales were in clothing and accessories stores and general merchandise stores. Retail sales declined 28.6% and 8.1% in those segments.

The biggest retail winners of 2021 were online stores. Online shopping not only made it more convenient for consumers to shop with their new lifestyles, but it also made it safer.

Retail eCommerce sales are expected to reach $86.52 billion this year, and growth is expected to be 12% after a 75% growth in 2020.

A major victory for the Canadian retail industry was the aggressive roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines. The first vaccine was administered in December 2020, but the vaccine programs came into full force in early 2021.

It allowed provinces to start a staggered easing of restrictions and reopenings, which was great news for the Canadian retail industry to recover much of lost in-store sales.

Reopening non-essential retail stores boosted sales by 4.2% month-over-month in June, only 0.2% lower than Statistic Canada’s prediction, and sales were up in six of 10 provinces.

Concerns for COVID-19 variants remain, but continued economic recovery and recovery of the Canadian retail industry remains hopeful, with eCommerce retail sales helping the industry stay afloat.

Storesupport is committed to helping brands, manufacturers, and retailers always perform at their best. We have a range of solutions like retail audits, online inventory management, order fulfilment support, planogram implementation, and more to help you put your best foot forward.

Learn more about how you can leverage Storesupport by calling 1-877-421-5081 or visiting www.storesupport.ca.

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