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Retail sales up 0.4% in August, less than half of what economists expected

Canada's retail sales grew by a modest 0.4 per cent in August, much less than analysts had expected.
Canada's retail sales grew by a modest 0.4 per cent in August, much less than analysts had expected. Graham Hughes/CP

Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 0.4 per cent to $53.2 billion in August.

It was the fourth consecutive monthly increase for retail sales since a record drop in April, when restrictions related to the novel coronavirus pandemic shuttered most non-essential businesses. But the reading was far below the expectation of economists, who had on average forecast an increase of 1.1 per cent, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.

RETAIL SALES

Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers rose 4.5 per cent, while sales at food and beverage stores climbed 0.8 per cent.

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Retail sales in volume terms were up 0.5 per cent in August.

The results came as Statistics Canada says a preliminary estimate for September suggests retail sales were relatively unchanged for the month, but added that the figure will be revised.