Stores in Polo Park Mall continue to reopen following coronavirus lockdown measures

Retail sales slump to unheard of lows; Winnipeg shops await rebound
WATCH: Statistics Canada is reporting retail sales in the country suffered their worst month on record in March.

It’s been nearly three weeks since Polo Park Mall reopened its doors to customers following COVID-19 lockdown measures.

“You know, every day we’ve been open it’s getting busier and busier, especially as more stores open,” Polo Park general manager Peter Havens said.

“We’re up to about 122 stores of our 188 that are available to be open.”

READ MORE: Polo Park development vote ends in stalemate at Winnipeg property and development committee

Statistics Canada released new data Friday, showing retail sales in March fell 10 per cent across the country — the biggest monthly decline on record.

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In Manitoba, it fell eight per cent in March.

“(COVID-19) started happening in March, a lot of stores closed mid-March and then were closed for the entire month of April here,” Havens said.

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“So it makes sense if you’re closed for a whole month and half your sales are going to be down.”

Sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores also fell a record 51.3 per cent across the country.

Coronavirus outbreak: Winnipeg officials discuss reopening golf courses, transportation routes
Coronavirus outbreak: Winnipeg officials discuss reopening golf courses, transportation routes

There is, however, some encouraging news coming from economists at Royal Bank who say national data is showing spending did start to increase towards the end of April.

“I’ve only hear anecdotally from stores, so sales are growing. Obviously, they’re not what they were prior to as because traffic is lower,” Havens said.

“I think there’s still people who are hesitant to come shopping, but there are people shopping. If you’re waiting five to six minutes to get into a store, typically you’re going to purchase something.”