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Canadians did ‘a lot of shopping’ in January despite renewed COVID restrictions

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Ontario’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore announced multiple new COVID-19 restrictions for the province on Friday in response to the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, including a 50 per cent capacity limit on indoor spaces like bars, restaurants and shopping malls. Moore also said alcohol sales will be restricted after 10 p.m, while indoor gathering limits will be reduced to 10 and outdoor limits to 25 – Dec 17, 2021

Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 3.2 per cent to $58.9 billion in January, helped by higher sales at new car dealers to start the year.

However, the agency says its early estimate for February suggests retail sales fell 0.5 per cent for that month, though it cautioned the figure will be revised.

The rise in sales in January came despite public health restrictions in several parts of the country to deal with the Omicron surge in COVID-19 cases.

Read more: Most Canadians are cutting back their food spending as inflation soars: poll

“It was a happy new year for Canadian retailers in January, as Canadians offset the misery of renewed pandemic restrictions by doing a lot of shopping,” CIBC Chief Economist Avery Shenfeld wrote in a note Friday.

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Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers led the way higher as they climbed 5.3 per cent helped by a 5.5 per cent increase at new car dealers and a 9.7 per cent rise at used car dealers.

Excluding motor vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations, retail sales rose 2.9 per cent.

In volume terms, overall retail sales rose 2.9 per cent in January.

With files from Global News

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COVID-19: WHO urges caution after Denmark the latest country to drop all restrictions – Feb 1, 2022

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