Canadian retail sales data for August 2021:
- Prior was +4.2%
- Prelim August estimate was +2.1%
- Ex-autos and gas +2.7% vs -1.3% prior
- Ex autos +2.8% vs +2.8% expected
- Flash estimate for September -1.9%
- Sales increased in Aug in 9 of 11 subsectors
The flash estimate for the month ahead increasingly overshadows the main headline. It shows a sharp reversal after the August pop. StatsCan doesn't offer any details on the internals in the flash estimate so we're left guessing.
The detailed August data offers a picture of a solid economy. Sales at clothing and accessories store exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the second month in a row. Some of that is pent up demand but at least it shows the demand is there. The lumber pop and drop is also in the numbers; after four months of declines in building materials, the sector rose 2.8%.
On concern is the 2.7% decline at furniture stores but StatsCan blamed supply constraints.