Retail sales exceed forecasts in Canada on cars

Shelly Hagan

Retail sales in Canada came in better than expected in October as more people bought cars.

Sales climbed 0.4% from the prior month, Statistics Canada said Friday in Ottawa, the sixth-straight monthly gain. Economists were predicting no change. The September figure was revised to a gain of 1.9% from 1.1%.

Retail sales rebounded quickly after cratering in April, and have held up better than expected since then, given the massive government income support measures that are keeping households afloat. While sales have exceeded forecasts, it’s unclear how long the strength will last, given the surge in virus cases and renewed restrictions in many provinces. Preliminary estimates for the agency show receipts were flat in November.

Sales rose in 6 of 11 sub sectors. Cars sales jumped 1.5%.

Excluding vehicles, retail sales were flat in October, versus a forecast for a 0.1% increase. In volume terms, sales edged 0.2% in October.

Sales now exceed pre-pandemic levels by 4.5%.