Canadian seasonally-adjusted retail sales rose 2.1% to $57.2 billion in August. The rise was driven by sales at food and beverage stores (4.8%), gasoline stations (3.8%), and clothing and clothing accessories stores (+3.9%). COVID restrictions were generally eased across the country in August. According to Statistics Canada's survey, just 0.6% of retailers were closed at some point in August. Preliminary estimates, based on roughly 54% of respondents reporting so far to the agency, indicate that retail sales declined 1.9% in September.
In BC, sales rose 1% to a fresh record in August, erasing a drop in July. Compared to the same month last year, retail sales were up 8.6% in the province. Only food and beverage store sales, electronics and appliance sales, and health and personal care sales were not up on a year-over-year basis in August. In the Greater Vancouver region, sales rose 2.7% month-over-month and were up 16.2% year-over-year.
In August, Canadian e-commerce sales rose from $2.8 billion to $3 billion. As a result, e-commerce increased from 4.6% of total retail sales in July to 4.9% in August. This percentage is lower than at most points since the onset of the pandemic but is elevated compared to pre-pandemic levels.
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