Retail sales fall 1.1 per cent in January

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says retail sales fell for a second consecutive month in January as many non-essential retailers were forced to restrict in-person shopping due to the pandemic.

The agency says retail sales fell 1.1 per cent to $52.5 billion for the first month of the year.

However, the preliminary February estimate suggests sales bounced back with growth of 4.0 per cent for the month.

The drop in January came as core retail sales — which exclude gas stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers — fell 1.4 per cent.

Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores dropped 17.8 per cent and furniture and home furnishings stores lost 15.1 per cent. Sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores fell 16.8 per cent.

In volume terms, overall retail sales fell 1.6 per cent in January.