Take Stock – October 23

Retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in August to $34.5 billion, thanks to higher sales at gasoline stations and new car dealers, which helped offset July’s decline. Statistics Canada reported Thursday that the largest increase came in the automotive sector, which rose 2.4 per cent overall, with gasoline stations leading the way at 3.9 per cent.

Retail sales up in August: Statscan

Retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in August to $34.5 billion, thanks to higher sales at gasoline stations and new car dealers, which helped offset July’s decline. Statistics Canada reported Thursday that the largest increase came in the automotive sector, which rose 2.4 per cent overall, with gasoline stations leading the way at 3.9 per cent. “When the labour market fares well, good things tend to happen to the rest of the Canadian economy,” said CIBC economist Krishen Rangasamy. “The strong retail numbers will add to the growing evidence that the domestic side of the Canadian economy is recovering,” Rangasamy wrote in a note. Without the bulk of the increase from gasoline stations and new car deals, sales were relatively flat compared with July, increasingly 0.4 per cent by volume. Overall, retail sales this past August were 3.7 per cent lower than a year earlier. Retail sales rose in eight provinces, with New Brunswick posting the largest increase at 3.2 per cent. Sales declined 0.9 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador and 0.2 in Alberta.


Polls disagree on Canadians saving habits

When it comes to how well Canadians are handling their cash these days, the consensus isn’t all that clear. An Ipsos Reid poll done for RBC Financial suggests many Canadians are letting their saving habits slide. The poll found one-third of the people who responded said they were saving less than they have in the past, with only one-in-five saying they were putting more away for a rainy day.

The poll suggests residents of Ontario and British Columbia top the list of those saving less, while 70 per cent of Canadians find reaching a savings goal one of their biggest challenges. On the other hand, Sun Life Financial says its research found Canadians are changing their spending habits. A phone survey of about 1,200 people done for Sun Life found that 60 per cent said they had reduced their debt, with 59 per cent saying they spent less since January.

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