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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

May 11, 2020

Canadians are adapting to a new normal in response to COVID-19. With many stores and service providers closed or operating with reduced hours, classrooms moved online, a newly defined workforce made up of essential workers and those able to work from home, and millions of Canadians experiencing lost hours of work or layoffs as a result of the pandemic. Purchases at grocery stores provides some insight to new consumption behaviour.

Grocery store sales in the week ending April 11, 2020, increased 19% over 2019 sales for the same week and increased 7% over the previous week. This week over week increase has been attributed to the Easter season holidays. A week earlier, compared to the same week in March, grocery sales had increased 46%. 

Canada Sectors 


Sector increases:

  • Personal care and household cleaning products: hand sanitizers and masks lead the way, increased faster than all other grocery items for the week ending April 11. Products in these categories were increasing at faster year-over-year paces in March.
  • Shelf stable and baking goods: flour, pasta, canned vegatales and eggs increased substantially.
  • Easter holidays, saw negative and lower than expected sales of ham, cut flowers while chocolate sales maintained similar levels as last year.
  • Coffee filters, hair colouring, hair styling/cutting and alcohol are continuing to see evevated year-over-year spending, some indication that people are adjusting to being at home for longer-period of time.



  • Items included in this study are derived from transaction data and are not necessarily priced as part of the Consumer Price Index.
  • Data are experimental and are subject to revision.
  • Consumer Prices program, special tabulation.
  • Over the next few weeks this study will be updated to incorporate more products of interest to the Canadian population.
  • Although concern has been raised about the possibility of price-gouging with new legislation being passed in Ontario on March 28th,Note retailers have made promises to Canadian consumers that they will not engage in predatory practices.Note Statistics Canada’s ongoing work informing Canadians through data products such as this index and the Consumer Price Index will help give context to uncertain economic times, and enable data users to make informed decisions.


Statistics Canada References

Grocery retail sales, select product groups for the week ending March 14th, 2020








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