More retail disappointment for Westman shoppers, as more stores announced late last week they will be closing their doors. The parent company of Ann Taylor, Loft, and Justice says it will close all of its clothing stores in Canada, part of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings because of COVID-19. According to their websites, there are four Ann Taylor, nine Loft, and 37 Justice stores in Canada. Ascena operates 2,800 apparel shops internationally but says it will begin its restructuring by closing its entire footprint in Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. This news comes as a new stats-can report revealed Canadian online shopping has DOUBLED during the pandemic as brick-and-mortar stores closed their doors. Shoppers rushed to make online purchases, with sales surging 99.3 percent during the period.
Statistics Canada says e-commerce sales hit a record of $3.9 billion in May, a 2.3 percent increase over April and 99.3 percent increase over February. E-commerce sales more than doubled year over year, with a 110.8 percent increase compared with May 2019.
From February to April, only the food and beverage businesses saw an increase in in-store sales, which were up 3.3 percent, while e-commerce sales surged 107 percent. In-store sales declined for general merchandise stores, building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, and health and personal care stores. Other retail-like furniture and home furnishings stores, sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores, and clothing and clothing accessories stores saw much sharper declines in in-store sales from February to April 2020. And as in-store sales decreased for these subsectors, e-commerce sales increased.