OTTAWA – Canadian retail sales likely rose 2.1% in August after falling 0.6% in July when restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic were lifted, Statistics Canada said in a preliminary estimate on Thursday.
The decline in July, the third drop in the past four months, was less than the 1.2% month-over-month decline forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll.
“With only a modest decline in retail sales in July, a rebound in August and an increase in spending on services, the economy will be driven by growth in consumer spending in the third quarter,” said Royce Mendes, senior economist. from CIBC Capital Markets, in a note.
Retail trade in July fell in part due to lower sales in food and beverage stores, which coincided with the easing of pandemic restrictions for restaurants and bars.
Statscan said that 0.5% of retailers closed at some point in July, compared with about 5.2% in June.
He also noted that the share of retail sales represented by e-commerce fell to 4.6% from 6.2% in June when shoppers returned to retail stores.