Canadian retail sales in August fail to meet expectations

By Staff, with files from The Canadian Press | October 21, 2020 | Last updated on October 21, 2020
1 min read
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Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 0.4% to $53.2 billion in August.

It was the fourth consecutive monthly increase for retail sales since a record drop in April, when pandemic-related restrictions shuttered most non-essential businesses.

Economists on average had expected an increase of 1.1%, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.

Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers rose 4.5%, while sales at food and beverage stores climbed 0.8%.

Retail sales in volume terms were up 0.5% in August.

“Consumers continue to drive the recovery, with limited availability of services and travel at least partly redirected into goods spending,” said Robert Kavcic, director and senior economist with BMO Economics, in commentary.

The results came as Statistics Canada says a preliminary estimate for September suggests retail sales were relatively unchanged for the month, but added that the figure will be revised.

Kavcic said that, with pent-up demand and lifestyle-adjustment spending seemingly running its course, momentum in retail sales “could be tougher to sustain in the quarters ahead.”

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Staff, with files from The Canadian Press

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