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Statistics Canada says retail sales fell 0.1% in September

Retail sales fell 0.1% in September to $51.6 billion, weighed down by lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations, Statistics Canada said Friday.

The result matched the expectations of economists, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

“All told, the Canadian consumer continues to look a bit tired, and the broader economy remains on pace for slightly below potential growth in the near term,” said Robert Kavcic, a senior economist at the Bank of Montreal.

The overall decline came as sales in the motor vehicle and parts dealers subsector fell one% due to a 1.9% drop at new car dealers. Sales at gasoline stations fell 2.3%, due in part to lower prices.

Statistics Canada says excluding these two subsectors, retail sales rose 0.7%.

“The ongoing strength in Canadian labour markets, the recent momentum in housing markets and wages, and the downshift in borrowing rates may have provided a modest lift to consumer spending,” TD Bank economist Omar Abdelrahman wrote in a report.

“Still, elevated household debt levels and associated debt-servicing costs will continue to cap any meaningful acceleration in retail sales or consumer spending.

Sales at food and beverage stores rose 1.2%, boosted by a 1.1% increase at supermarkets and other grocery stores and a 3.2% increase at beer, wine and liquor stores. Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers saw sales rise 3.3%.

Overall retail sales in volume terms fell 0.1%.

The retail sales figures come ahead of wholesale trade results for September to be released on Monday and a reading of gross domestic product for both September and the third quarter as a whole out on Nov. 29.

The Canadian economy set a blistering pace in the second quarter, but economists expect growth slowed in the third quarter amid evidence of a slowing global economy, hurt by the U.S.-China trade war.


Statistics Canada reports retail sales edged down 0.1% in August

Statistics Canada says retail sale fell 0.1% in August to $51.5 billion as sales at food and beverage stores dropped.

Economists on average had expected an increase of 0.4% for August, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Statistics Canada says sales at food and beverage stores fell 0.8% in August, the first move down from the sector in three months. Sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores fell 0.8%, while beer, wine and liquor stores dropped 1.9% and convenience stores edged down 0.1%. Sales at specialty food stores increased 2.3%.

Meanwhile, sales at gasoline stations fell 0.4% as a result of lower prices at the pump, while gasoline sales rose 2.8% in volume terms.

Sales at general merchandise stores gained 0.8% and motor vehicle and parts dealers rose 0.1%.

In volume terms, retail sales increased 0.2% in August.