The Financial Post reports in its Saturday edition that Canadian retailers got a boost in February after public-health authorities lifted lockdowns.
A Bloomberg dispatch to the Post says that retail sales rose 4 per cent on the month, preliminary data released on Friday by Statistics Canada show. The bounce-back comes after a 1.1-per-cent drop in receipts in January and a 3.7-per-cent decline in December, when many businesses were forced to close because of a second wave of COVID-19.
The February numbers, however, suggest the worst is over as the economy emerges from the containment measures. Based on the preliminary estimates, sales were 4.6 per cent above year-ago levels.
"The strong February estimate is welcome news -- likely driven by a rebound in Ontario and Quebec -- and bodes well for the economy as it continues to heal from last year's trauma," Benjamin Reitzes, a rates and macro strategist at Bank of Montreal, said in a report to investors.
Mr. Reitzes adds that Canadian retailers should continue to benefit from the reopenings, but the threat of a third wave could provide a setback. Until a vaccine is widely available, in-store shopping is likely to face continued restrictions on capacity.
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