Canadian duty free sales drop in March

Canadian airport sales were down 10% in March 2019 with land border sales dropping 2.76%, according to the latest statistics provided by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). However, airport sales for the first three months of the year are up 4.39% versus the January-March period in 2018. Land border sales fell 1.14% for the same three month period.

Perfume, Cosmetics, Skincare, the number one category in Canadian airport duty free stores with more than 36% of sales, was down 8.88% in March. Alcohol, the number two airport category with 20% of sales, was down 12% for the month. Tobacco, the number three airport category with 12% of sales, was down more than 6%.

 Alcohol, with more than 40% of land border sales, slipped .65% in March. Tobacco (26% of sales) was down 5.26%. Perfume, Cosmetics, Skincare (14.4% of sales) was up 10% in March.

 Arrivals of international visitors to Canada slowed (-1.2%) over the first three months of 2019 on a year-over-year basis, reports Destination Canada. This slowdown partly resulted from general softening inbound flows from several key international markets and from “the Easter effect” – where travelers who would have come in March are likely to delay their travel until Easter in April 2019 to take advantage of the holiday.

The CBSA says this will be the last month it provides Canadian duty free statistics since Duty Free Shop licensees are no longer required to provide a summary of sales on a monthly basis to the agency.