Canadian retail sales hit a snag in April amid a third wave of COVID-19 restrictions.

Receipts fell 5.1 per cent last month after many provinces introduced strict measures to curb virus cases, according to preliminary data from Statistics Canada released Friday. The drop reverses two strong months of gains, including a 3.6 per cent increase in March.

Canadian retailers are likely to remain weak throughout most of May as lockdowns continued. Despite the setback, analysts expect a quick rebound for the economy in June once containment measures have been lifted -- as was the case after previous lockdowns.

Retail sales are still well above pre-pandemic levels, with April figures about 5 per cent above sales numbers in February 2020.