Retail Sales Not Yet Business As Usual

There is a V-shaped recovery underway in retail sales, says Ed Strapagiel, a retail consultant. However, how things are playing out varies among the main retail sectors and retail life is still not back to the pre-pandemic business as usual. Citing the latest data from Statistics Canada, he says total Canadian retail sales were down 3.4 per cent year-over-year for the three months ending July, but this is a significant improvement compared to recent results. The three-month average retail sales growth rate is now heading up and is likely to cross into positive territory in another month or two. The underlying 12-month trend has turned upward as well, but so much damage has been done that it may not get back to zero growth for the year 2020 overall. The store merchandise sector demonstrates a classic V-shaped collapse and recovery and is now on the upstroke side. What is unpredictable, however, is how far it can come back.