Canadian retail sales rose in April for the third consecutive month by 0.1%, following a 1.3% gain in March (revised upwards from 1.1%). Retail spending increased to $51.5 billion, as 7 of 11 retail sub-sectors representing 74% of the sector reported higher sales. The main contributor to the increase in April was higher sales at gasoline stations. Behind the national gain were Manitoba (1.8%), Alberta (1.6%) and Ontario (0.9%).
In B.C., retail sales declined 0.5% from the previous month to $7.2 billion. Sales were down in the clothing, health and personal care, and food and beverage sectors. In contrast, sales were up in the housing related sectors of building material and garden equipment, and furniture stores. On a year-over-year basis, B.C. retail sales were flat in April.
The soft increase to retail sales in April was within market expectations, as harsher than normal weather conditions hit most of the Eastern provinces and households are still adjusting their spending to higher interest rates.