Canadians are eager for in-store shopping as virus restrictions ease, according to geolocation data compiled by SafeGraph Inc.

The San-Francisco based analytics firm released complete Canadian data for the first time this week, showing foot traffic at clothing stores is up 44 per cent in June from the same month in 2019, according to a Bloomberg analysis of the numbers. In May, the two-year gain was 19 per cent. SafeGraph uses aggregated and anonymized smartphone location data.

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The strong traffic bodes well for a rebound in retail sales after the sector was hit hard by a third wave of lockdowns earlier this year, revealing Canadians are keen to shop in person when allowed. According to latest data from Statistics Canada, retail receipts fell 5.7 per cent in April and about 3.2 per cent in May after many provinces introduced strict measures to curb virus cases.

Authorities lifted most of the restrictions by June.

Clothing stores have been the hardest hit among retailers from the pandemic, with receipts still below pre-pandemic levels.