Canadian retail sales rising steadily

But have stores reached their sales growth peak?
retail grocery carts

Nothing to see here folks, just an average run-of-the-mill retail sales period.

Total sales inside Canadian stores, for the month of May, were up a meagre 1.2% year-over-year, according to retail consultant Ed Strapagiel’s latest report, with stats from Statistics Canada.

The story changes slightly, but not dramatically, when total sales at gas stations is removed from the equation (the category has been one of the reasons the country is experiencing lower than usual total retail numbers). Overall retail jumps up to 3.5% in May when excluding gas stations, with a total 4.8% increase over the first five months of 2015.

It’s been a good two years for the Store Merchandise sector (which excludes food and drug stores). Sales in stores has been moving up pretty steadily over the past 24 months, which Strapagiel says is “an unusually prolonged up-cycle.”

“On the other hand, given the lacklustre recent performance of the Canadian economy, it’s difficult to see how this pace can be sustained. Store Merchandise sales growth may now be at or near its peak,” Strapagiel adds.

Most of the store categories saw a positive year-over-year retail sales gain for the month, with one major exception, notes Strapagiel. Electronics & Appliance store sales saw a hefty 4.1% decline during the period, “which to some extent is due to the closure of Future Shop,” he writes.

Here are the most active store categories, with the largest sales gains during the month of May:

  • Building material & garden equipment/supplies dealers (+8.4%)

  • Furniture stores (+7.3%)

  • Clothing stores (+6.9%)

  • Health & personal care stores (+4.9%)

  • Supermarkets and other grocery stores (+3.5%)