The recovery in Canadian retail sales is fizzling. Sales eked out a gain of 0.4% in August, the fourth consecutive monthly increase since the record decline in April, Statistics Canada reported on October 21. Retail sales in volume terms were up 0.5% in August. 

The report falls short of expectations, which were calling for a 1.01% gain in August, and clearly shows the pent-up demand for goods at Canadian retailers after the lockdowns is being exhausted. Retail sales were quick to recover to pre-pandemic levels during the summer months as businesses were able to reopen but capacity restraints and further shutdowns in the face of a second wave will keep a lid on demand. 

Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers rose 4.5%, while sales at food and beverage stores climbed 0.8%. Excluding vehicles, receipts rose 0.5%, versus a forecast gain of 0.9%. Sales were down at sporting goods, hobby, book and music (-3.7%) and general merchandise (-0.7%) stores.

Sales in Quebec were up 1.6% in August, led by higher sales at motor vehicle and parts and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers. In the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Montréal, sales edged up 0.2%

In Ontario, sales edged up 0.1% in August. Although sales have increased every month since May, they were 0.6% below their pre-pandemic level in February. Sales in the CMA of Toronto were also up 0.1%

Source: Globe and Mail
Source: Finanial Post
Source: Statistics Canada