Statistics Canada says retail sales fell for the second consecutive month in January as many non-essential retailers were forced to restrict in-person shopping due to the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Statistics Canada says retail sales fell for the second consecutive month in January as many non-essential retailers were forced to restrict in-person shopping due to the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Retail sales fall 1.1% in January to $52.5 billion: StatsCan

Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores dropped 17.8%, furniture and home furnishings stores lost 15.1%

Canadian retail sales fell for a second consecutive month in January as many non-essential retailers were forced to restrict in-person shopping due to the pandemic, but early indications point to a rebound in February as the restrictions eased.

Statistics Canada said Friday retail sales fell 1.1 per cent to $52.5 billion for the first month of the year, however its preliminary February estimate pointed to a gain of 4.0 per cent for the month.

“The recovery in February retail sales adds to the evidence suggesting that GDP growth continued into the second month of the year,” CIBC senior economist Royce Mendes wrote in a report suggesting the bank’s forecast for the first quarter might have been too conservative.

“That being said, the risks to the economy from the third wave of the virus are now greater than they were at the time those forecasts were made. As a result, the second quarter might begin on weaker footing than previously envisioned.”

Recent economic data has suggested a stronger-than-expected start to the year.

Statistics Canada reported last week that the economy added 259,000 jobs in February, outpacing the net gain of 75,000 jobs that had been expected and the Bank of Canada said earlier this month that it now expects the economy to grow in the first quarter compared with its earlier expectation that there would be a contraction to start the year.

TD Bank economist Ksenia Bushmeneva said credit and debit card data show spending staged a solid rebound as provinces began to gradually lift restrictions last month.

“All in all, the Canadian economy has shown relative resilience in the face of the second wave of the pandemic, and the recent economic reopening ushers optimism about the days ahead,” Bushmeneva wrote.

“That being said, the slow pace of vaccination-to-date and the recent uptick in cases continue to pose uncertainty to consumers and businesses alike about what the next few months could hold.”

The drop in January retail sales came as core retail sales — which exclude gas stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers — fell 1.4 per cent.

Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores dropped 17.8 per cent and furniture and home furnishings stores lost 15.1 per cent. Sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores fell 16.8 per cent.

Meanwhile, higher gasoline prices helped boost sales at gasoline stations which saw an increase of 0.9 per cent in January.

In volume terms, overall retail sales fell 1.6 per cent in January.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A man was sentenced to more than a year in jail for a late-night robbery in Courtenay last April. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Late-night Courtenay robbery results in 500-plus days in jail

Heatley’s sentence also includes probation, DNA order, firearms ban

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

The CSRHD board has diverging views on its relationship with Island Health. File photo
Comox-Strathcona board ponders relationship with Island Health

“We have to stand together … to get our share of the health budget.”

The CVCDA Accessibility Project is creating safer ramps at the Courtenay facility. Photo supplied
Accessibility project underway at Comox Valley Child Development Association

Over the past month, you may have noticed some construction underway behind… Continue reading

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, was filming near Prospect Lake in Saanich last month. (Photo courtesy Fred Haynes)
Province announces $150,000 towards South Island film studio, fulfilling B.C. NDP promise

Investment to fund movie studio feasibility study at Camosun College

Most Read