Canada May retail sales -0.1% vs +0.3% expected

Author: Adam Button | Category: News

Canada May 2019 retail sales data

Canada May 2019 retail sales data
  • Prior was +0.1% (revised to +0.2%)
  • Ex autos -0.3% vs +0.3% expected
  • Prior ex autos +0.1% (revised to 0.0%)
  • Sales down in 4 of 11 subsectors
Poor numbers but it's the first decline in four months and May weather was poor in the bulk of the country. Still, the market isn't liking it and USD/CAD shot up to 1.3095 from 1.3060 before the data. The loonie can brush off falling oil, or weak data; but it can't withstand both.

Digging into the details, the big drag was lower sales at food and beverage stores, which were down 2.0% as supermarkets fell 2.0% and beer, wine and liquor stores declined 2.7%. Separately, closing stores were also soft, down 2.7% and general merchandise stores -1.1%.

  • Furniture and home furnishing stores +0.5%
  • Electronics and appliance stores +1.2%
  • Building material stores +0.2%
  • Health and personal care stores +0.8%
  • Gasoline stations +3.5%
  • Sporting goods and hobby stores -1.9%
  • Miscellaneous store retailers (online) +1.3%
Looking through the details, there is less concern than the headline. There were gains at the more economically-sensitive spots. A drop in supermarket sales looks like an anomaly.

It's still strange to read something like this in the official report: "Sales at cannabis stores (+14.8%) rose in May, surpassing $85 million. This increase marked the third consecutive month of double-digit growth." How could food sales be so low with those kinds of numbers?

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