P.E.I. retail sales have largely recovered from pandemic dip

·1 min read

October sales figures released Friday morning by Statistics Canada suggest the retail industry on P.E.I. is back on the growth trend it was showing before the COVID-19 pandemic started.

But the recovery still varies widely from sector to sector.

The retail recovery began on the Island in June, and comparing the five months from June to October in 2019 and 2020 shows a 4.3-per-cent increase in sales this year.

Clothing and gasoline are the only two sectors showing sales down for that period, with gas down 16.5 per cent and clothing off 15.5 per cent.

Furniture sales have shown the biggest growth, up 18.6 per cent for that five-month period.

Haley Ha manages Haki Apparel and Accessories and Do Furniture, both in downtown Charlottetown, so she has seen both sides of the retail story on P.E.I.

"There was a lot of people buying furniture in July, August and September … there were so many people," she said.

"We sold out of all of our bed frames. We tried to get more in but because of COVID there was a lot of back orders with the manufacturer and they couldn't fill our order."

But on the clothing end of things, Haki has been challenged since opening two months ago. Ha said they have heavily marketed the store on Facebook and Instagram, and are starting to see some payoff.

She understands why sales of clothing are down this year, though.

"I noticed it from my own behaviour as well. I don't shop as often," she said.

"When the pandemic happened, you would be worried about savings ... I guess people splurged less on stuff."

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