Canadian retail sales data for August 2021:

Canada August retail sales
  • 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.

Canada retail sales details