Another Strong Month for 2022
Original release date: April 22, 2022
February continued January’s pace with an All Stores increase of 7.3%. All Stores Less Automotive grew slightly less at 5.1%, but All Stores Less Automotive, Food, and Pharmacies more at 10.4% year-over-year.
Clothing Stores was once again the strongest category this month, growing a huge 48.0%. With loosening limits on indoor gatherings, Canadians are resuming social events, something we expect to see accelerate as the weather gets warmer. Category retailers have done a good job adapting to the changing styles; the downtime as the hardest category hit by the pandemic was not squandered. In fact, looking at 2019 numbers as a comparison, Clothing Stores is up nine percent with fewer retailers. A true pandemic success story.
The desire for social interaction may have also been a driving factor in keeping Building Material and Garden Equipment buoyed at 10.8% year-over-year. Canadians could still be wary of large gatherings, instead preferring to host smaller events in their homes, maintaining the focus on home improvement. We expect this to accelerate as we progress further into the year as well.
On the flip side, Food and Beverage Stores were down slightly at -0.6%, with Supermarkets and Other Grocery Stores down -2.1% year-over-year. This could be a result of people eating in restaurants more, but it may also be a shift back to local grocery stores as fears ease. We see this in Specialty Food Stores, which grew by a healthy 7.9%, indicating that Canadians are still buying food, just more than the staples they stocked up on during lockdowns.
Overall, February was a welcome increase for Canadian retail. Is COVID-19’s influence on retail finally over?