Home improvements continue to drive P.E.I. retail sales recovery

·2 min read

The focus of Islanders remained on their homes as the province led the country for the second month in a row in retail sales growth.

Seasonally adjusted sales on P.E.I. were up 4.4 per cent in September compared to the month before, according to a release from Statistics Canada on Friday. Nationally they rose just 1.1 per cent from August to September.

For the first time since the start of the pandemic in March, P.E.I. retail sales were up compared to the same month in 2019.

The recovery remains uneven. Clothing and gasoline sales were still down, but hardware and furniture both saw spectacular increases, up more than 30 per cent over September of 2019.

For the year to date, building material and garden equipment are leading the way. Sales have been strong in that sector since stores reopened after the initial pandemic shutdown in March 2020.

"People are still making purchases for their homes. As a result of COVID, more people are spending time in their homes, in their yards and gardens," said Jamie Lewis, manager of the Charlottetown Home Hardware.

"Fall typically is not as busy a time of year for that kind of thing, [but] people are still making investments in their own home because they're not travelling or going out of province or doing much that way."

Sam Juric/CBC
Sam Juric/CBC

Overall, sales are now down just a little more than one per cent for the year to date compared to what they were a year earlier.

Though still down, the clothing sector showed some sign it might be beginning to recover. In August, P.E.I. sales were down 25 per cent compared to the same month in 2019, but in September that decline was just 6.6 per cent.

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