Retail Sales Edge Up Again

Retail sales edged up 0.1 per cent to $59.9 billion in February, says Statistics Canada. This was the fourth increase in the last five months. Higher sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores (+15.1 per cent) and gasoline stations (+6.2 per cent) were offset by lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers (-5.1 per cent). Sales were up in six of the 11 subsectors, representing 47.2 per cent of retail trade. Higher sales were recorded at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+5.6 per cent). This was the sixth increase in the last seven months and follows a 10.9 per cent gain in January. In volume terms, retail sales were down 0.4 per cent in February. Retail sales increased in four provinces, led by higher sales in Manitoba (+5.1 per cent) and Nova Scotia (+4.3 per cent). Lower sales were observed in Newfoundland and Labrador (-7.8 per cent), British Columbia (-0.9 per cent), and Quebec (-0.4 per cent). On a seasonally adjusted basis, retail eCommerce sales were down 4.6 per cent in February. The share of eCommerce sales out of total retail sales fell two percentage points compared with February 2021, when many retailers were mandated to close their brick-and-mortar stores to in-person shopping in several regions across the country.