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On a seasonally adjusted basis, sales in the food services and drinking places subsector decreased 0.3% to $6.3 billion in January. The impacts of the novel coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) on the sector will be more noticeable in subsequent months.

Lower sales were reported at full-service restaurants (-0.6%), limited-service restaurants (-0.1%) and drinking places (-1.5%). Sales increased in special food services (+0.6%)

In January, seven provinces reported lower sales, with the greatest contributor to the decrease being British Columbia (-2.1%). Newfoundland and Labrador (-7.1%) had a large decline following a record-breaking snowstorm. Higher receipts were reported in Ontario (+0.6%).

Here on PEI, sales were $25,024,000 in January, representing a 2.3 per cent drop from the December total of $25,608,000. However, it was an 8.1 per cent jump from the January 2019 total of $23,156,000.

Unadjusted sales for January were up 3% in the food services and drinking places subsector compared with January 2019. Sales increased in each of the following industry groups: full-service restaurants (+3.5%), limited-service restaurants (+2.7%) and special food services (+4.7%). Sales at drinking places declined 3.6%.

Year-over-year sales increased in eight provinces, with Quebec (+7.9%) and Ontario (+3.2%) contributing to most of the total national increase. Newfoundland and Labrador (-7.6%) posted the largest decline this January compared with last year, attributable to inclement weather.

Prices for food purchased from restaurants were up 2.1% in January compared with January 2019 and prices for alcoholic beverages served in licensed establishments were up 1.9% in the same period.

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