Canada Retail Sales Fell in September Due to Supply Constraints

Retailers in Canada reported fewer sales in September amid supply chain bottlenecks and a reopening of the economy that allowed consumers to spend more on services.

Receipts likely fell 1.9 percent, a preliminary estimate released Friday by Statistics Canada indicated, after a gain of 2.1 percent in August — slightly ahead of a 2 percent consensus estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The early estimate for September doesn’t provide any details on the reasons for the pullback.

The dip could signal retailers are struggling to meet strong demand because of global shipping constraints and a shortage of microchips that are disrupting automotive manufacturing. It may also suggest consumers have less appetite for hard goods now that they’re free to spend on services that had been prohibited for months like gym memberships and movie tickets.

For August, the 2.1 percent gain was broad-based, led by higher sales at food and beverage stores, gasoline stations and clothing retailers. Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers were flat.

“The flash estimates for September aren’t great news for the final month of the quarter, and we’ll be looking to next week’s sneak peek of September GDP to see whether sectors not affected by the auto industry’s challenges were able to offset that weakness,” Royce Mendes, an economist at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, said in a report to investors.

The statistics agency also revised its July data upward to show receipts fell 0.1 percent instead of the 0.6 percent contraction previously reported.


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