Canadian Manufacturing

Downtown businesses trapped in spending deserts amid office closures

22% report making normal sales for this time of year, compared to 37% of businesses in rural areas

August 19, 2020  by CM Staff

PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

TORONTO — While most small businesses are struggling with sales, COVID-19 has hit downtown cores particularly hard, with significantly fewer urban businesses back to making normal sales than rural businesses, finds new survey data on the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s Small Business Recovery Dashboard.

Among businesses in large urban centres, 22% report making normal sales for this time of year, compared to 37% of businesses in rural areas.

“Typically, we wouldn’t expect to see businesses in urban centres struggling to find customers. But with downtown offices empty and international tourism dead, these businesses are really hurting and more at risk of permanent closure,” said Laura Jones, executive vice-president at CFIB in a prepared statement.

Canada’s small business recovery has largely been stagnant over the summer. The latest national figures on the Small Business Recovery Dashboard reveal minimal changes since August 5:

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  • 66% are fully open
  • 40% are fully staffed
  • 28% are making normal sales

“Consumer spending is the key to survival for all businesses. This week we are encouraging Canadians in or near urban areas to make a special effort to order takeout or indulge in some retail therapy at downtown businesses. Choosing to buy at small businesses is the best thing we can do to move the needle on their recovery and the recovery of Canada’s economy as a whole right now,” added Jones.


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