GM workers use human assistance automation to weld vehicle doors at the General Motors assembly plant during the COVID-19 pandemic in Oshawa, Ont., on Friday, March 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Statistics Canada says retail sales fell 0.6 per cent in September to $56.6 billion

Statistics Canada says retail sales fell 0.6 per cent in September to $56.6 billion

OTTAWA — Canadian retail sales fell 0.6 per cent to $56.6 billion in September as sales of new cars slowed amid limited supply due to the shortages of semiconductor chips that have hurt production in the auto industry.

Statistics Canada also said Friday its preliminary estimate for October pointed to an increase in retail sales of one per cent for the month, but it cautioned the figure would be revised.

CIBC senior economist Royce Mendes said the September reading was better than the consensus forecast for a drop of 1.7 per cent and Statistics Canada’s preliminary estimate for a loss of 1.9 per cent for the month.

“Retail sales slumped in September, but only reversed a small part of the gains from the prior month,” Mendes wrote in report.

“The outcomes for both September and the October flash were better than anticipated, suggesting spending was somewhat more robust this autumn than we had anticipated.”

Retail sales in the third quarter were up 2.7 per cent, the largest increase since the third quarter of 2020.

However, Mendes said that the increased availability of services and supply issues for some goods could mean a bumpier ride this winter for retail sales.

Statistics Canada said sales in September fell in seven of 11 subsectors with sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers falling 1.6 per cent.

Sales at new car dealers were down 2.8 per cent, largest decline since December 2020, while sales at used car dealers rose 6.3 per cent.

Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores fell 5.9 per cent as sales at clothing stores lost 7.9 per cent. Sales at jewelry, luggage and leather goods stores rose 2.6 per cent, while shoe sales were up 0.4 per cent.

Food and beverage stores gained 1.3 per cent.

Core retail sales, which exclude gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers, fell 0.3 in September.

In volume terms, retail sales fell 1.1 per cent in September.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 19, 2021.

The Canadian Press