Skip to main content

Shoppers walk through Carrefour Laval shopping centre, in Laval, Que., on June 19, 2020.Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

Retail sales rose 4.2 per cent to $56.2-billion in June as public health restrictions were eased in many parts of the country, Statistics Canada said Friday.

However, the agency said its preliminary estimate for July, which will be revised, suggests retail sales fell 1.7 per cent last month.

TD Bank economist Ksenia Bushmeneva said retail sales continue to ebb and flow with the tightening and easing of the public health restrictions.

“While consumers have been enjoying their newly found access to stores, they have also started shifting their spending patterns away from goods and toward services such as dining out, recreation and travel,” Ms. Bushmeneva wrote in a report.

“This transition likely weighed on retail sales in July, as indicated by the decline in the advance estimate. That said, improvement in spending on high-touch services, in addition to robust retail expenditure, bodes well for GDP growth in the third quarter.”

For June, retail sales increased in eight of the 11 subsectors as clothing and clothing accessories stores led the way with a gain of 49.1 per cent following two months of declines.

Sales at general merchandise stores rose 7.4 per cent, while motor vehicle and parts dealers gained 2.7 per cent.

Sales at food and beverage stores fell 2.6 per cent as sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores dropped 3.5 per cent. Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers fell 3.1 per cent.

Core retail sales – which exclude gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers – rose 4.6 per cent.

Regionally, sales were up in six provinces in June, with Ontario gaining 9.8 per cent on higher sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores and general merchandise stores.

Retail sales in volume terms rose 4.1 per cent in June.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.