Apparel led a retail spending rebound in August

The latest data from Mastercard also reveals that ecommerce sales are coming back down to earth.

Apparel pushed Canadian retail sales up, especially in-store, according to the latest figures from Mastercard.

The financial services corporation’s latest Canadian SpendingPulse report reveals that for the month of August, year-over-year apparel sales spiked 37.4%, leading an overall year over year (YOY) retail sales boost – excluding auto – of 7% for the month, and 7.8% when looking just at in-store.

Back-to-school season is in full throttle and growth in apparel is indicating not only seasonal growth, but also a return to pre-pandemic levels of growth as consumers return to in-store shopping, the survey notes.

Mastercard’s SpendingPulse reports on national retail sales across all types of payments. The report’s findings are based on aggregate sales activity in the Mastercard payments network, in addition to survey-based estimates for other payment forms, such as cash and cheques.

As the dog days of summer came to a close, fuel and convenience also saw an increase of 18.5%, as consumers took their final summer road trips.

Home furniture and furnishings are seeing robust growth, up 12.8%, while home improvement sales are nipping close behind at 11.7% YOY. Jewelry and leather goods came in with year-over-year growth of 9.5%.

Restaurants have yet to recover, the report notes, with tepid 0.3% year-over-year growth, and up a mere 5.5% since pre-pandemic levels. Similarly, home electronics experienced slight growth at only 3.8%.

Also, year over year, e-commerce appears to be come back to earth, up only 3.6% from August 2021 levels. However, it’s still up a whopping 78.4% from 2019 levels.

As Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard, noted, it continues to see strong growth compared to pre-pandemic times in the e-commerce sector, indicating new spending habits have set in despite the return of accessibility to in-store shopping.