Choose your settings
Choose your language
Economic News

Retail sales are holding up ... for now

February 21, 2023
Randall Bartlett
Senior Director of Canadian Economics

Retail sales rose 0.5% in December, in line with consensus expectations and Statistics Canada’s flash estimate. Sales were higher in 7 of 11 subsectors, led by gains in sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers (+3.8%) and general merchandise stores (+1.7%). In contrast, sales at gasoline stations were down 5.8% in December. At the same time, core retail sales – purchases excluding gas stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers – rose a still-respectable 0.4% in the final month of 2022. Building on December’s momentum, Statistics Canada’s advance estimate of retail sales is pointing to a gain of 0.7% in January 2023.

Retail sales for December suggested that Canada’s economy ended 2022 on a positive note. However, some of that momentum might be fleeting. As a result, the flash estimate of ongoing strength in retailing won’t be enough to change the Bank of Canada’s outlook that the economy is set to slow down sharply this year.

PDF Publication

See the full publication in PDF.