Store merchandise sales are bouncing back in a big way

Ed Strapagiel's latest analysis reveals that while apparel is on fire, convenience channels are slumping.

Fashion, furniture and accessories are booming, according to the latest analysis of Statistics Canada retail data from Ed Strapagiel.

Bolstered by very robust apparel sales, the store merchandise sector grew by 12.7% year-over-year for the three months ending February 2022. According to Strapagiel, clothing and accessories “is the runaway best seller in retail,” with sales racking up 39.8% year-over-year growth for the quarter.

Jewellery, luggage and leather goods, as well as shoes, were also strong gainers. General merchandise, furniture and home furnishings stores also clocked in with double-digit gains for the period.

The automotive sector continued to have strong gains, with an increase of 16.4% year-over-year for the three months ending February 2022. The underling 12 month trend also improved to a gain of 23.8%.

Sales at automobile dealers were up by 11.1% during the period, though that comes in part from a favourable comparison to sluggishness the year prior. The main sector driver is gasoline station sales, which were up 30.5% year-over year over the last three months, as prices go up and workers return to more conventional in-office arrangements.

Retail sales in the food and drug sector declined 1.3% year-over-year, which Strapagiel suggests shows sales perhaps coming back to earth from big 2021 numbers. 

Supermarkets and other grocery stores account for approximately a bit more than half the retail sales in this sector, but their sales were off 3.1% for the last three months. Convenience stores were a laggard, with sales down 6.2% during the reporting period.

According to the numbers, a correction is happening in ecomm, with sales declining 16.3% year-over-year. According to Strapagiel, it seems as if shoppers are returning to physical stores, but warns it’s difficult to determine what will happen next.

Regionally, sales in the Greater Toronto Area and Montreal area are leading the charge, while B.C. achieved minimal growth.