Canadian retail sales continue to languish

Canadian retail sales growth isn’t picking up, according to Statistics Canada figures.

On his website, retail consultant Ed Strapagiel highlights the fact that total retail sales gained just 1.5 per cent year-over-year on a not seasonally adjusted basis in Q3 2019, slightly above the 1.4 per cent Q2 gain but below the 1.8 per cent increase in the first quarter.

Nine months into 2019, year-to-date Canadian retail sales are up only 1.6 per cent compared to a year ago. “That doesn't even cover price inflation and population growth,” Strapagiel says.

The three month sales growth trend remains at a historical low level, while the underlying 12 month trend continues to dwindle and could end the year at an increase of about 1.5 per cent, which Strapagiel says would make 2019 the slowest growth year since the Great Recession of 2009.

“I'm dreaming of a mediocre Christmas,” Strapagiel says.

While the automotive sector is the main drag on Canadian retail sales, but the food and drug sector and the store merchandise sectors are also laggards. Excluding automotive, store retail is up a modest 2.3 per cent year-to-date so far in 2019, a six year low.

Strapagiel goes into more detail on the various retail sectors and their impact on growth figures. View his full analysis here.

Graph: Ed Strapagiel

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