Retail spending is probably the primary measure or barometer to monitor the mood of consumers and this year has been a roller coaster. When the pandemic lockdown was declared, we had no place to spend which meant sales for retailers dropped sharply. And, our savings rates went up…a lot. Almost 30-percent for a month or two.
Then, as things began to re-open we returned to the marketplace like people on a mission.
StatsCan calls it a V-shaped recovery. Sales went down sharply in April and by June had rebounded to pre-pandemic levels or even above them for some categories.
We now have July’s figures and they were virtually unchanged from June (down a bit) but up 3.5% from this time last year. The flattening of this curve was especially noticeable in the home improvement category. We spent heavily on this in the spring but by mid-summer the dollar volume had levelled off but unit sales were still up suggesting retailers had lowered some prices to lure us back to the store.