Canadian retail sales in October came out stronger than expected, increasing 0.4 percent.
Statistics Canada reported on Friday that total sales activity for the month reached $ 54.6 billion, marking the sixth consecutive monthly increase since the record decline in April.
Sales growth was led by dealers of motor vehicles and parts, Statistics Canada said. Sales at new car dealerships increased 0.8 percent.
Economists’ consensus expectation was that sales would increase 0.2 percent in October, after the 1.9 percent jump seen in September.
Sales in British Columbia increased 2.1 percent, with health and personal care stores, as well as resellers of construction material and garden equipment and supplies, further contributing to the increase. In Alberta, sales increased 1.1 percent in higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers.
In Ontario, retail activity fell for the first time since April, coinciding with a record number of COVID-19 cases and stricter public health measures in the province. Ontario sales fell 0.4 percent, with the drop led by clothing stores and clothing accessories.
Statistics Canada said its forecast for November is that retail activity is expected to remain relatively unchanged.
“Retail sales have achieved a remarkable recovery, having recorded a V-shaped recovery,” said BMO economist Priscilla Thiagamoorthy in a comment.
“But, with stricter restrictions amid an outbreak of new virus cases, we expect some smoothness in activity in the coming months.”
Derek Holt, of Scotiabank Economics, pointed out that total sales volume is now five percent higher than before the pandemic “and therefore the general sector has more than recovered”.
Calculating sales of automobiles and gasoline, sales volumes increased by almost 8% compared to pre-pandemic levels, he said.