Canada Retailers End Third Quarter With Unexpected Sales Gain

(Bloomberg) --

Canadian retailers recorded an unexpected gain in sales in September, a firmer than anticipated ending to a weaker third quarter.

Retailers saw a 0.2 percent gain during the month, Statistics Canada reported Friday from Ottawa. Economists expected no growth. Sales for August were revised to show no change, versus an initial estimate of a 0.1 percent decline.

The nation's retailers had been coming off a sluggish summer, a pause consistent with a broader trend of slowing consumer spending this year as households cope with higher borrowing costs.

The September gain however meant sales through the third quarter ended up with a 0.9 percent gain, less than the 1.1 percent increase in the second quarter. In volume terms, adjusting for price increases, retail sales rose 0.4 percent in the third quarter, down from 0.9 percent the previous quarter.

Sales volumes were up 0.5 percent in September.

During the month, sales were up in six of 11 subsectors tracked by Statistics Canada, representing 75 percent of retail trade.

A 0.9 percent gain in food and beverage stores led increases, along with higher sales at car dealerships and clothing retailers. Excluding cars, retail sales were up 0.1 percent. Sales at gas stations fell 1.1 percent in September as prices fell.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.