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Special Report

Canada Retail Sales Research Brief

September 2023

Canada’s Retail Sector is Well-Positioned for Long-Run Growth,
Despite Macroeconomic Headwinds

Retail sales hold, while purchasing power tapers. Historic immigration, a tight labour market and elevated savings have supported retail sales in Canada, despite rising costs eating into consumers’ real disposable incomes. Seasonally-adjusted retail sales were up 0.3 per cent monthly as of July, which translated into a 2.0 per cent annual gain. The primary driver of growth has been Canada’s rapidly-expanding population. On a per-capita basis, annual inflation-adjusted retail sales have declined for four consecutive quarters. While still above levels from one year prior, real sales volumes have fallen month-over-month for three straight periods, indicating that rising interest rates are beginning to impact consumers’ spending.  

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