Canadian retail sales for December 2021

Canada, retail sales
  • Prior was +1.3%
  • Ex autos -4.1% vs -2.4% expected
  • Prior was +2.1%
  • Sales down in 9 of 11 subsectors
  • Sales up 1.2% in Q4 compared to Q3
  • Approx 15% of retailers were closed during December
  • Advance January sales -3.3%
  • Sales at clothing stores down 17.0%
  • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music -22.5%
  • Electronics and appliance stores -12.8%
  • Home furnishing stores -7.0%
  • 2020 sales down 1.4% vs 2019
  • Core sales +4.5% in 2020 led by supermarkets +11.5%

This is the first decline after 7 consecutive increases and it looks like January will decline again as tighter lockdowns were implemented. Looking through the harshest category drops, they were focused in the truly discretionary categories. I think that points to a good chance of surging pent up demand in a true reopening. At the same time, when a book store reopens, how many extra books are you going to buy?

The boom in car sales also appears to be ebbing in both the US and Canada. That bears watching.

So far the Canadian dollar is brushing off the drop.