Canada August Retail Sales Match Record on Food, Clothing

Canadian retail sales rose for a second month in August, matching a record set three months earlier, on gains in food and clothing.

Sales increased 0.2 percent to C$40.3 billion ($39.2 billion), Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News forecast a 0.3 percent gain, based on the median of 20 projections.

Indebted consumers continue to lead the expansion as policy makers say exports and business investment have disappointed. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz will probably keep his key policy interest rate at 1 percent tomorrow, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

“Consumer spending we think can keep growing at a good pace,” said Nathan Janzen, an economist at Royal Bank of Canada in Toronto, citing industry figures showing automobile sales are still on pace for an annual record this year.

Sales in August were 2.7 percent higher than a year earlier, Statistics Canada said. Consumer discretionary companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange have generated a 34 percent return this year, second only to health care companies.

Food and beverage store receipts climbed 1.2 percent in August to C$8.96 billion, while clothing and accessory sales increased 1.9 percent to C$2.29 billion.

Canada’s dollar rose 0.1 percent to C$1.0293 per U.S. dollar at 9:50 a.m. in Toronto. One dollar buys 97.15 U.S. cents.

Car Sales

While motor vehicle and parts sales fell 0.5 percent to C$9.37 billion, they have gained 7.2 percent over the last 12 months.

Purchases excluding the motor vehicle and parts category rose 0.4 percent to C$31 billion. On that basis, economists had forecast sales would gain 0.2 percent.

Sales advanced in six of 11 categories marking 56 percent of total sales, Statistics Canada said.

The volume of sales rose 0.2 percent. That measure excludes the effects of price changes and more closely reflects the industry’s contribution to economic growth.

July’s retail sales advance was revised to 0.5 percent from an earlier reading of 0.6 percent.

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