OTTAWA – Retail sales in Canada fell in June, widely missing expectations amid a sharp decline at retailers that sell general merchandise, gasoline, building materials and garden equipment.
Statistics Canada reported Wednesday that retail sales declined 0.4 per cent to $38.7 billion in June, more than offsetting a gain in May.
Economists had expected a 0.1 per cent increase.
Sales decreased most in Alberta, which had reported the largest increase among the provinces in May.
Of the 11 subsectors that Statistics Canada tracks, seven of them reported lower sales — representing 64 per cent of the country’s retail trade.
Statistics Canada said that receipts at general merchandise stores fell by 1.05 per cent, with store closures contributing to lower sales at department stores.
Gasoline station sales decreased 1.3 per cent, reflecting lower prices at the pump — the sixth decrease in eight months.
Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers reported a 2.1 per cent sales decline. Statistics Canada said lower receipts in recent months may reflect early spring sales for this store type in February and March.
Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers decreased 0.4 per cent.
Receipts at food and beverage stores increased 0.5 per cent overall, with supermarkets and other grocery stores (up 1.0 per cent) accounting for most of the increase.
Sales at electronics and appliance stores rose 1.1 per cent in June, following declines in April and May.