Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 2.1% in August

By The Canadian Press | October 22, 2021 | Last updated on October 22, 2021
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Canadian retail sales rose 2.1% to $57.2 billion in August, boosted by gains at food and beverage stores, gasoline stations and clothing and clothing accessories stores.

However, Statistics Canada said Friday its initial estimate for September suggests retail sales reversed course in September and fell 1.9%, though it cautioned the figure will be revised.

The agency also said its early estimate for manufacturing sales in September point to a drop of 3.2% for the month, due in large part to the transportation equipment industry.

CIBC senior economist Royce Mendes said retail sales roared back in August, but then took another breather in September.

“The ugly flash readings for retail sales and manufacturing will dent our previously heady GDP forecast for the month,” Mendes wrote in a note to clients.

“However, while goods sectors were plagued by supply chain challenges, according to the labour force survey data, activity across a range of services sectors was increasing.”

The jobs report for September showed employment returned to pre-pandemic levels for the first time as the economy gained 157,000 jobs for the month.

In August, retail sales were up in nine of 11 subsectors as core retail sales — which exclude gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers — gained 2.7%.

Sales at food and beverage stores rose 4.8%, to post their first increase in three months, as sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores gained 4.5% to lead the way higher.

Clothing and clothing accessories stores saw sales climb 3.9% higher in the month to reach a new record, while higher prices helped gasoline station sales rise 3.8%.

In volume terms, retail sales rose 1.4% in August.

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