People wear face masks as they shop in a department store in Montreal, Sunday, August 2, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

June retail sales topped pre-pandemic levels in June, StatCan reports

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada reports retail sales soared 23.7 per cent in June to $53.0 billion, climbing above pre-pandemic levels for the first time as more parts of the country moved ahead with plans to reopen their economies.

The agency says sales were up 1.3 per cent compared with February, the last month before broad shutdowns were ordered by public health officials to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic

It added that early estimates suggest retail sales increased by 0.7 per cent in July.

Economists on average had expected an increase of 24.5 per cent for June, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Retail sales in June were up across all of the subsectors with the motor vehicle and parts dealers group up 53.4 per cent.

Sales at non-essential retailers also surged higher with clothing and clothing accessories stores posting a 142.3 per cent gain in June.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 21, 2020.

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