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Special Report

Canada Retail Sales Research Brief

June 2023

Retail Sales Regain Momentum to Start Second Quarter;
Essential Products Show Strength

Retail sales up in most of Canada’s major metros. In April, Canada’s retail sales surpassed expectations and rose 1.1 per cent monthly. After accounting for inflation, this translated into a 0.3 per cent gain. On an annual basis, sales expanded 2.9 per cent, which indicates that households are absorbing higher borrowing costs better than expected. This is due in part to higher savings than in pre-pandemic times, as well as robust immigration and a healthy labour market, which is cushioning the impact of declining real disposable incomes. In April, gains were broad-based, with retail sales up in all but two provinces and eight of nine sub-sectors. Toronto witnessed the most substantial monthly increase among major metros at 1.4 per cent. Nationally, essential products like food and beverage, as well as health and personal care, saw monthly sales rise a combined 1.4 per cent.

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