Why Axis

    Pandemic e-commerce boom came with costs, but retailers are banking on them paying off

    A man walks out of a Canadian Tire in Toronto in March 2020. The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn

    VANCOUVER — In early March, Canadians started shopping the way retail executives had projected they would years from now. The spread of COVID-19 prompted more consumers to navigate websites rather than stores, and for some of the country’s publicly traded retailers and grocers, e-commerce sales surged by up to fivefold.

    In advance of the upcoming earnings season, The Logic compiled pandemic e-commerce figures from major Canadian retailers and grocers. The sudden growth in online shopping caught retailers off guard, and saw them scrambling to boost their infrastructure to meet a level of demand they hadn’t expected for years. The speed of the change has come with a cost to those companies, but while many retail executives have said they expected growth to slow as physical stores reopened and the caseload curve flattened, they are banking on the changes in shopping habits outlasting the pandemic.

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