CAN NRB October 2022

A Glimpse of What’s to Come in October Retail Sales

Original release date: December 20, 2022

Canadian retail sales saw a minor growth (when compared to the rest of 2022) with All Stores up 5.1% YOY, with All Stores Less Automotive up 4.1% YOY, and All Stores Less Automotive, Food and Pharmacies up 3.8% YOY. These sales numbers are significantly below the rate of inflation in October, which rose to 6.9%.

Health and Personal Care Stores saw a significant growth in October, increasing by 9.8% YOY. With the news of shortages in children’s medicine and a low uptake in flu shots/bivalent boosters, this is impressive. Upon discussion, the JCWG team suspects:

  • Not dissimilar from the toilet paper panic buying of 2020, cold and flu medicine shelves (both adults and children) are empty with most pharmacies putting a restriction on the quantity being able to be purchased. The fear around supply chains in relation to medicine should start to level out soon, but for the time being, these are hot ticket items.
  • Though vaccines are not being adopted at the rate that health experts are recommending, those who choose to be vaccinated are guaranteed to have a 15-minute window to browse a pharmacy in case of any adverse reaction.

Clothing and Accessories Stores saw moderate growth in October with an increase of 4.4% YOY. However, when compared to the year-to-date increase of 25.2%, this tells a very different story. There were those returning to work in droves earlier in the year, a trend we were seeing as early as January, 2022. It seems that this was short lived, as people purchased their new business casual wardrobes, and kept their sweatpants at the ready. With hybrid being the norm in most industries, it seems that (at least for the time being) people have the wardrobe staples they need.

Though usually reserved for our ecommerce tidbit in our newsletter (subscribe at the bottom on the page), Ecommerce sales in the month of October are notable this month. The Ecommerce sales in October were down -3.6% YOY. This may not seem like much, especially since sales were trending down most of the year, this is important as Amazon had their second Prime Day on October 11-12. When considering that there was no second Prime Day in 2021, ecommerce should have seen a growth in October. It seems the fact that people are returning to stores for their holiday shopping is being heavily reflected in Ecommerce performance and sales.

With holiday in full effect, October could very well be foreshadowing a slow holiday season for sales. As a reminder, predictions were that this year will show a downturn of 17%. Some questions we are asking this month are:

  • Are consumers getting “choice overload” with holiday discounts at retailers?
  • Who are consumers excited to shop with for holidays?
  • Will people return to ecommerce sites after the holidays?
  • When will the Boxing Day sales start/end?
  • How has YOUR holiday strategy been performing in 2022?

Reach out to the JCWG team to analyze your holiday performance and prepare you for a successful 2023. Check in with us next month to see how November performed with the extensive Black Friday deals.


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