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Many Toronto stores are now offering free shipping during coronavirus pandemic

Despite the closure of many Toronto retail stores, some local businesses are offering free shipping with a minimum purchase.

Leah Eyles, the owner of Scout, said her decision came after noticing a dip in store traffic.  

"With the state of emergency we needed income" she said, noting that small retailers like her are really scared about what this pandemic means financially.  

Eyles said that offering free shipping was one way to encourage people to keep supporting small businesses and make shopping more accessible. "It's also a way to give people something to keep them busy and hopefully bring some joy in a social distanced way," she added.  

After posting the notice on Sunday, Scout saw an immediate spike in orders. "We had 20 orders in one day," Eyles said. "It was very hopeful seeing the community come together." 

Over the last few days, we've seen retail giants such as Nordstrom, Apple, Sephora, Lululemon, Aritzia and more shutter their operations in attempts to reduce the spread of the disease. 

Since closing up shop, some of those same chain retailers, like Sephora, Aritzia and REI, have announced they too are waiving shipping fees. 

Other local and Canadian stores like Frank and Oak and Peace Collective announced free shipping incentives after shuddering their brick-and-mortar stores this week.

However, despite the initial spike in sales Scout saw, free shipping might not be enough to offset the economic losses forecasted for retailers. 

“We expect [e-commerce] to make up for some of the lost stores sales for many retailers, though even a spike in [e-commerce] sales would unlikely be enough to offset stores being completely closed for several weeks,” Citigroup retail analyst Paul Lejuez wrote in a research note on Monday.

And the picture is even bleaker for small businesses. 

A quarter of Canada’s small businesses say they would not be able to survive for more than a month, if they experience a drop in income of more than 50 per cent, said a Canadian Federation of Independent Business survey.

The survey, released Tuesday, found about half of Canada's small businesses have already seen a drop in sales due to the economic effects of the virus of COVID-19.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez at Frank and Oak Women


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