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Canadian retail sales increase faster than inflation

Gasoline stores led the way with a 17.5-per-cent spike in value on Statistics Canada's price index
Shoppers leave the Apple store at CF Pacific Centre

Despite much speculation that Canadian consumers are paring back their spending, the latest Statistics Canada data, for September, show that retail spending is rising faster than inflation. 

The nation's number cruncher uses a formula where 100 is equal to the amount of retail spending done in 2013. That gauge rose to 127.9 in September, up 5.18 per cent from 121.6 in September 2022. The country's annual inflation rate in September was 3.8 per cent.

That means that retail sales are rising in real, or inflation-adjusted terms.

Not all retail sectors enjoyed increased sales.

Sales at building material and garden stores performed the worst, as those stores' rank on the index dropped 2.6 per cent, to 147.3, from a 151.3 rank in September 2022.

Sales declines at health and personal-care stores pushed those businesses' rank to fall to 113.3, down nearly 0.8 per cent from a 114.2 rank in September 2022. 

Another sectoral laggard was furniture and home furnishings, as those stores saw their index rank drop 1.6 per cent to 122.4 in September, from 124.4 in September 2022.

Owners of gasoline stations were big winners. Sales at those businesses increased enough for the sector rank to rise to 168.4 on Statistics Canada's index, up more than 17.5 per cent from a 143.3 rank in September 2022.

Other sectors with increases in their Statistics Canada index rank that exceeded the 5.18-per-cent average included:
• clothing (up six per cent);
• food and beverage (up nearly 6.2 per cent); and 
• miscellaneous goods (up 8.4 per cent).

The retail sales data released today is based on sales at stores that are categorized into different retail sectors. It differs from commodity-retail data that is based on sales for actual products. 

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