Retailers Continue To Struggle Post Pandemic

Many categories within the retail sector are still strained and struggling to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, says the Retail Council of Canada (RCC). “After a big leap in June, the 1.2 per cent month-over-month decline in core retail in July suggests that the retail recovery is slowing, consistent with what we have seen over the past couple of days with numbers coming out of the UK and U.S.,” it says. Individual retail formats continue to rebound at varying paces. Areas that had done well during the early stages of reopening fell back somewhat, including building materials and garden supplies. As well, there continues to be a slight reduction in eCommerce demand since consumers were able to physically return to shopping in bricks-and-mortar stores in all provinces across Canada for the full month of July. eCommerce was 4.8 per cent of total retail sales in July compared to 5.4 per cent in June (these percentages do not include eCommerce sellers such as Amazon or Wayfair). Looking ahead, there are several challenges that will test retailers including a possible second wave of COVID-19, along with holidays such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and the lack of consumer traffic in most city centres across Canada.