Canada July 2021 retail sales and the preliminary August estimate

retail sales
  • Prior was +4.2%
  • Prelim July estimate was -1.7%
  • Ex-autos and gas -1.3%
  • Ex autos -1.0% vs -1.5% expected
  • Flash estimate for August +2.1%
  • Sales down in 5 of 11 subsectors
  • Full report

Food and beverage stores (-3.4%) are mostly grocery stores and fell as restaurants opened while building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (-7.3%) fell as lumber prices peaked and people pulled back on renos. E-commerce sales fell 19.5%.

On the upside, people starting buying clothes along with the reopening as that category rose 7.6%. Canadian auto inventories haven't had quite the crunch as in the US (at least they hadn't yet in July) and sales rose 0.4% led by new vehicles.

Overall, this is a decent report, though I might have hoped for more in the preliminary August data. The Canadian dollar is fractionally higher on the report.

Here's what CIBC had to say about the report:

Canadians seem to have been spending much more money overall this summer than last. That reinforces our view that household spending growth will drive the economy in Q3. Still, the savings rate will likely remain elevated relative to pre-pandemic trends leaving ample room to drive future spending. The concern now is whether the Delta variant will force another round of public health restrictions across the country that limit the ability of Canadians to go out and make purchases