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Ottawa, Mar 27 (Canadian-Media): It was confirmed by the recent Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC), the first large-scale survey to capture the impacts of COVID-19on retail sector, that Canadian retail sector is the hardest hit by COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian Chamber of Commerce reports said.
Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Image credit: Twitter handle
The CSBC is the first large-scale survey to capture the impacts of COVID-19 being faced by Canadian retailers.
As a non-essential service, the retail sector that has traditionally relied on physical in-store contact felt the affects of closures and social distancing from the very beginning of the crisis.
While other sectors such as construction and recreation have caught up, the wholesale and retail sector actually experienced greater job losses (-374,000).
The effects of the pandemic on companies involved in the retail sector includes Revenue loss and ability to remain open; Staff layoffs and reduced hours; Innovation and Resiliency
As far as Revenue loss and ability to remain open is concerned, according to the survey 47.7 percent of retailers had lost more than 30 percent of revenue in the first weeks of the crisis, and of that, 27.7 percent had experienced a decrease in excess of 50 percent. Within this context, 40 percent of retailers indicated they would have to close over 3-6 months if social distancing measures remained in place.
Staff layoffs and reduced hours, according to survey, 50 percent of retailers said have had to lay off staff, and 55 percent said they had to reduce staff hours. In a similar vein, the April 2020 Labour Force Survey showed that 582,000 jobs were lost in the wholesale and retail trade sectors over the first two months of the crisis, a staggering 20.2 percent loss. Over the same period, there was a 31 decrease decrease in hours worked.
Innovation and Resiliency revealed by the survey said almost 30 percent of Canadian retailers introduced innovations in their business practices such as maintaining business connections virtually, working from home for their employees, and e-commerce. The latter was of particular interest to retailers, who have been testing online services at more than twice the rate of the national average (27.8 percent versus the national average of 11.6 percent).
As for reopening and recovery, 1 in 4 retail businesses indicated they have concerns with finding, recruiting and retaining talent going forward, and almost 50 percent said they could resume normal operations within a month.
"However, it is not going to be an easy road ahead. This is not going to be like previous economic recoveries where first impacted sectors are first back. We as consumers will need to support the resiliency of the retail businesses and employees to ensure the best recovery for the sector possible,” said Leah Nord, Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Senior Director of Workforce Strategies and Inclusive Growth.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses and decision-makers across the country at all levels of government, as well as internationally.
Headquartered in Ottawa, Statistics Canada, formed in 1971, is the Canadian government agency that provides statistics to help better understand Canada, its population, resources, economy, society, and culture and in informed decision making.