Retail sales fell in 11 sectors during the month of April, the first time since May 1003. (iStock/amstockphoto)

Retail sales see massive drop since physical distancing measures

Retail sales in Canada have gone down 33.6 per cent since the social and physical distancing measures were put in place in mid-March, according to a report released by Statistics Canada earlier today.

In the month of April, retail sales were down by 26.4 per cent $34.7 billion and sales in all 11 sectors of retail trade were down for the first time since May 1993.

Many essential businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies and liquor stores remained open with reduced hours, however Statistics Canada said that most Canadian retailers did not offer in-store shopping in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many non-essential retailers were also forced to close in March, and remained closed throughout April.

The motor vehicle and parts dealers industries were hit hardest during the month of April with sales going down by 44.3 per cent. Sales at food and beverage outlets fell by 12.7 per cent in April, and sales at gas stations fell by 32.2 per cent. 

However, online retail sales shot up during the month of April. Due to the pandemic, many Canadian retailers shifted their business online. 

According to the Statistics Canada’s report, online retail sales accounted for a record high of 9.5 per cent, $3.4 billion of all retail trade for the month of April, an increase of 120.3 per cent compared to last year.

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