Canada Retail Sales Post Drop in June to End Improved Quarter

(Bloomberg) -- Canadian shoppers took a break in June, with retail sales posting a small decline on the final month of what was an otherwise improved second-quarter of spending.

Retailers saw receipts shrink by 0.2 percent during the month, after a sharp 2.2 percent gain in May, Statistics Canada said Wednesday in Ottawa. Despite the June drop, retailers recorded a 1 percent gain in sales in the second quarter, following a 0.5 percent decline during the first three months of 2018 that was the worst start to a year since 2015.

The quarterly pick-up in consumer spending -- along with stronger business investment and exports -- led to a rebound in economic activity that is fueling expectations the Bank of Canada will continue raising interest rates in coming months.

Statistics Canada is scheduled to release second-quarter GDP data on Aug. 30, with economists anticipating growth to hit at least 3 percent, from 1.3 percent in the first quarter.

The decline in retail sales in June was driven by a drop in gasoline prices and fewer purchases of automobiles. Sales by car and parts dealers fell 0.7 percent in June. Excluding that sector, sales were down 0.1 percent.

Six of the 11 sectors tracked by Statistics Canada reported lower receipts during the month.

In volume terms, factoring out price changes, sales were down 0.3 percent in June.

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