Slower gas, food spending drove September drop in retail sales

Click to play video: 'Will consumers spend during the holidays?'
Will consumers spend during the holidays?
Thanks to inflation and talk of a possible recession, many retailers are wondering if consumers are willing to spend freely during the holidays this year. At the same time, Loren Remillard, President and CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce says there is a sense of optimism. – Nov 21, 2022

Retail sales fell 0.5 per cent to $61.1 billion in September led by a drop in sales at gas stations along with food and beverage stores, Statistics Canada said Tuesday.

However, the agency said its initial estimate for October pointed to a gain of 1.5 per cent for the month, though it cautioned the figure would be revised.

“Retail sales fell in September; though the drop was smaller in volume terms, real spending took a notable step back in the third quarter,” BMO economist Shelly Kaushik wrote in a report.

“However, solid advance estimates for retail and manufacturing sales, as well as wholesale trade, point to a recovery in October.”

Read more: OPEC+ will slash oil production next month. Will Canadian gas prices change?

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For September, Statistics Canada said sales at gas stations fell 2.4 per cent as sales in volume terms at gas stations rose 4.2 per cent, but gas prices fell 7.4 per cent.

Meanwhile, sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers were relatively unchanged as sales at used car dealers slipped 3.5 per cent, offset by a 2.3 per cent gain at other motor vehicle dealers and automotive parts, accessories and tire stores rose 0.4 per cent.

Sales at food and beverage stores dropped 1.3 per cent in September, as supermarkets and grocery store sales fell 1.6 per cent and convenience stores lost 1.5 per cent.

Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers saw sales fall 2.0 per cent.

Click to play video: 'Will consumers spend during the holidays?'
Will consumers spend during the holidays?

Core retail sales _ which exclude sales at gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers _ fell 0.4 per cent in September.

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In volume terms, retail sales fell 0.1 per cent in September.

Retail sales for the third quarter as a whole were down 1.0 per cent, the first quarterly decline since they fell 11.9 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 at the start of the pandemic.

Retail sales in volume terms were down 1.4 per cent in the third quarter of 2022.

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