Canada’s Retail Sales Rose 4.4% In June

Canada’s retail sales rebounded in June, with sales rising 4.4% as COVID-19 restrictions eased across the country.

The June sales estimate is in line with positive recent employment numbers that showed a gain of 230,700 jobs in the month of June. Mobile-phone data also showed that foot traffic in clothing retailers was up 44% in June from 2019 levels, suggesting Canadians are eager for a return to in-person shopping.

With vaccination rates rising and now ahead of the U.S., economists predict that Canada will continue to post strong retail sales throughout the summer and fall. The easing of restrictions has Canadians enjoying activities that were forbidden for months, such as indoor dining and shopping at malls.

Retail sales fell 2.1% in May, when many provinces had restrictions on businesses to combat COVID-19, Statistics Canada reported. However, even May’s number wasn’t as bad as the 3% drop that economists had expected.

The retail sales weakness in May was broad-based, with eight of the 11 categories posting declines led by building material, garden equipment and motor vehicles.

Economists had anticipated that as the reopening continues consumers will shift some spending to services from goods as salons and restaurants reopen.