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Oct 20, 2023

August retail sales wane

Retail sales decreased 0.1 percent to $66.1 billion in August, down in six of nine subsectors and led by decreases at motor vehicle and parts dealers (-0.9 percent), says Statistics Canada. Sales in building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers was down 7.8 percent to $3.89 billion. Core retail sales – which exclude gasoline stations and fuel vendors and motor vehicle and parts dealers – were down 0.3 percent in August. 

In volume terms, retail sales declined 0.7 percent in August. Based on respondent feedback, approximately 12 percent of Canadian retailers say their business activities in August had been affected by the strike at the ports in British Columbia. 

Retail sales decreased in six provinces in August. The largest provincial decrease was observed in British Columbia (-1.1 percent). In Quebec, retail sales were down 0.5 percent in August, and in the Northwest Territories retail sales dropped 22.1 percent. The largest provincial increase in August was observed in Alberta (+0.9 percent). 

On a seasonally adjusted basis, retail e-commerce sales were down two percent to $3.9 billion in August, accounting for 5.8 percent of total retail trade, compared with six percent in July. 

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