Statistics Canada says wholesale sales posted record plunge in April
Sales in Ontario fell 30.2% in April, while Quebec dropped 17.6%
OTTAWA — Wholesale sales in Canada fell by a record 21.6% to $49.8 billion in April, led by a plunge in the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector due to the pandemic.
Statistics Canada said Thursday that wholesale sales fell to their lowest level since July 2013 as all seven subsectors recorded lower sales for the first time since November 2008.
Economists on average had expected a drop of 12.6%, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.
“The more pronounced drop in these numbers, combined with the earlier released manufacturing and employment data for April, suggest that there’s some downside risk to Statistics Canada’s -11% flash estimate of April GDP,” CIBC senior economist Royce Mendes wrote in a note.
Wholesale sales volumes dropped a record 21.5% to their lowest level since September 2009.
April was the first full month to see physical distancing measures put in place by public health authorities across the country.
Statistics Canada said 79.5% of wholesalers reported that COVID-19 had an impact on their business.
It added that 90.1% of wholesalers in the personal and household goods subsector reported that their businesses were affected by the pandemic.
The motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector fell by a whopping 64.7% in April following a 21.7% drop in March. Excluding the subsector, wholesale sales were down 14.2%.
The personal and household goods subsector fell 21.5%.
Regionally, Statistics Canada said nine provinces saw wholesale sales move lower, while Saskatchewan rose 1.6%.
Sales in Ontario fell 30.2% in April, while Quebec dropped 17.6%.
Statistics Canada will report retail sales figures for April on June 18.