Retail sales down slightly in August: StatsCan

By The Canadian Press | October 20, 2023 | Last updated on November 21, 2023
2 min read

Canadian retail sales fell 0.1% to $66.1 billion in August as sales at new and used car dealers fell for the month, Statistics Canada said Friday.

The agency also said its early estimates suggest retail sales were unchanged in September, though it cautioned the reading would be revised.

TD Bank economist Maria Solovieva said the balance of risks for the Canadian economy is slowly swinging to the downside as consumer confidence continues to be soured by the Bank of Canada’s rate hikes and still elevated inflation.

“This certainly allows the bank to remain on the sidelines at next week’s decision,” Solovieva wrote in a report.

“We expect that moderating demand tempers inflation going forward, while keeping spending just slightly below sub-trend without sending disruptive ripples through the economy.”

The Bank of Canada is set to release its next interest rate decision on Wednesday when it will also update its forecasts for the economy in its monetary policy report.

Private sector economists widely expect the central bank to keep its key interest rate target on hold at 5%, the highest its been since 2001.

For August, Statistics Canada said sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers fell 0.9% as sales at new car dealers dropped 1.1% and used car dealers declined 0.5%.

The agency said the largest increase in retail sales in August was at gasoline stations and fuel vendors as higher prices helped lift sales in the category 2.8%. In volume terms, sales at gasoline stations and fuel vendors fell 2.9%.

Statistics Canada said core retail sales, which exclude gasoline stations and fuel vendors and motor vehicle and parts dealers, fell 0.3% in August.

Sales at food and beverage retailers fell 1.2%, while sales at sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument, book and miscellaneous retailers dropped 1.1%.

Health and personal care retailers saw an increase of 1.2%.

In volume terms, overall retail sales fell 0.7% in August.

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