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OTTAWA — Canadian retail sales rose 0.9 per cent to $60.7 billion in April, Statistics Canada said Tuesday as gains at general merchandise stores helped lift the overall sales.

The agency also said its early estimate for retail sales in May suggested a gain of 1.6 per cent for the month, but cautioned the figure would be revised.

TD Bank economist Ksenia Bushmeneva said retail sales remained robust in April, with core sales increasing for the fourth consecutive month. 

“Even higher prices did not deter consumers, with the volume of sales also rising on the month,” Bushmeneva wrote in a report.

“In the coming months, retail sales will be impacted by two major trends: rotation of consumer spending away from goods and toward services, and high inflation. We expect to see some continued moderation in retail sales volumes as spending on goods gives way to rebounding spending on services, such as concert tickets, vacations and dining out.”

The retail sales report came a day ahead of May inflation figures expected on Wednesday. The annual inflation rate hit 6.8 per cent in April, its highest level since January 1991 when it reached 6.9 per cent.

Statistics Canada said Tuesday retail sales in April were up in six of the 11 subsectors tracked by the agency, representing 43.3 per cent of retail trade.

Sales at general merchandise stores gained 4.2 per cent, while sales at miscellaneous store retailers, which includes pet stores, cannabis stores, office supplies and stationery stores and pool retailers, rose 11.3 per cent.

Meanwhile, sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers fell 4.3 per cent.

April saw sales at gasoline stations gain 3.0 per cent, while sales fell 0.3 per cent at motor vehicle and parts dealers. Sales at new car dealers dropped 0.8 per cent, while used car dealers gained 1.7 per cent, the first increase in six months. 

Core retail sales — which exclude gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers — rose 1.0 per cent.

In volume terms, overall retail sales gained 0.9 per cent in April.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 21, 2022.

The Canadian Press