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

Mark Skage and his son Mica during the filming of a West Kootenay episode of Start ‘em Young. Photo: Submitted
TV show films West Kootenay hunting trip

Start ‘Em Young aims to encourage kids to get out in the wilderness

Kimberley case counts not at the point for 18 years and older community vaccination, says Interior Health. (File photo)
Many factors considered for smaller community-wide vaccination: Interior Health

East Kootenay resort town’s COVID-19 situation not at the point of community-wide vaccination, say officials

Nav Canada will not be closing the tower at West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Nav Canada tower to remain open at West Kootenay Regional Airport

The organization was considering closing the tower

Dresses hang outside Nelson city hall as part of the REDress Project by Métis artist Jaime Black. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Nelson’s REDress Project exhibit vandalized

The REDress Project brings attention to missing and murdered Indigenous women

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. sees 1,006 COVID-19 cases Thursday, ‘alarming’ 502 in hospital

Vaccine bookings for people aged 60 and older set to start

Most Read