Canada’s Retail Sales Fell 2.1% In December Amid Omicron Lockdowns

It wasn’t a positive holiday season for Canadian retailers as new lockdown measures imposed to contain the Omicron variant of COVID-19 led to a 2.1% decline in December retail sales.

Retailers nationwide sold 2.1% fewer goods in December, according to a preliminary estimate by Statistics Canada. That’s after a 0.7% gain in November and a 1.5% increase in October, the federal agency said in a news release.

The numbers highlight how the emergence of the Omicron variant hampered the economic expansion at the end of last year, as authorities shutdown high-contact sectors and spooked customers.

While Canada’s economy has shown resilience through successive waves of lockdowns, higher interest rates expected in coming months and continued supply chain disruptions around the world are likely to test the economy going forward, say economists.