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Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 0.7 per cent in April to $66.8 billion

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Canadian retail sales rose 0.7 per cent to $66.8 billion in April, helped by higher sales at gasoline stations as well as food and beverage retailers.

The agency said Friday sales were up in seven of the nine subsectors it tracks as sales at gasoline stations and fuel vendors gained 4.5 per cent.

However, Statistics Canada added that its advance estimate for retail sales in May pointed to a decline of 0.6 per cent, though it cautioned the figure would be revised.

"The overall trend in spending points to softness, with the three-month average growth rate barely moving into positive territory in April, then reverting back in May," TD Bank economist Maria Solovieva wrote in report.

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"Additionally, recent industry data highlights sluggish demand in auto sales will spill over to the rest of the quarter, weighing on durable goods spending."

The motor vehicle and parts dealers group posted the largest drop in April as it fell 2.2 per cent with sales at new car dealers down 2.9 per cent.

Core retail sales — which exclude gasoline stations and fuel vendors and motor vehicle and parts dealers — rose 1.4 per cent in April.

Sales at food and beverage retailers gained 1.9 per cent, while clothing and clothing accessories retailers gained 2.1 per cent. The sporting goods and miscellaneous subsector gained 3.4 per cent.

In volume terms, retail sales in April gained 0.5 per cent.

The retail sales data follows a decision by the Bank of Canada earlier this month to cut its key interest target by a quarter of a percentage point to 4.75 per cent.

It was the first time the central bank lowered its policy rate since March 2020 in the early days of the pandemic..

The central bank considered waiting until July to begin lowering interest rates, but ultimately decided to cut

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press