Retail Sales for July 2021

Retail sales fell 0.6% to $55.8 billion in July, the third decrease in four months. The decline was primarily driven by lower sales at food and beverage stores (-3.4%) and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (-7.3%). In July, much of the country continued to implement reopening measures, which eased restrictions on both retailers and services.

  • Sales decreased in 5 of 11 subsectors, representing 38.7% of retail trade.
  • Core retail sales—which exclude gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers—decreased 1.3%.
  • In volume terms, retail sales decreased 1.1% in July.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, provincial governments eased public health restrictions in several regions across the country, which directly affected the retail sector. In light of evolving restrictions, both retailers and consumers have adapted to changing business conditions. Based on respondent feedback, 0.5% of retailers were closed at some point in July, compared with approximately 5.2% of retailers that were closed in June.

Given the rapidly evolving economic situation, Statistics Canada is providing an advance estimate of retail sales, which suggests that sales increased 2.1% in August. Owing to its preliminary nature, this figure will be revised. 

Retail e-commerce in Canada

On a seasonally adjusted basis, retail e-commerce sales fell 19.5% in July. On an unadjusted basis, retail e-commerce sales were down 2.9% year-over-year to $2.9 billion in July, accounting for 4.6% of retail trade. With the continued easing of in-person retail capacity limits in several provinces, the share of e-commerce sales in total retail sales fell by 1.6% points in July from June, reaching its lowest level since February 2020.

Source: Statistics Canada

Wholesale trade: Early indicator, August 2021

Given the rapidly evolving economic situation, Statistics Canada is providing an advance estimate of sales in the wholesale trade sector for August. The advance results for August indicate that wholesale sales rose 0.5%. The increase reflects higher sales in the food, beverage, and tobacco subsector.

This estimate was calculated based on a weighted response rate of 60.7%. The average final response rate for the survey over the past 12 months has been 86.9%. As Statistics Canada continues to collect data for the August reference month, this early indicator is subject to a higher revision rate than the regular monthly release.

Source: Statistics Canada