Manitoba posted one of the biggest increases in retail sales in the country in September, according to new Statistics Canada figures released today.
The agency said the province’s retailers sold $1.4 billion worth of goods during the month. That was an increase of 1.2 per cent from the $1.39 billion worth sold in the previous month.
Manitoba was one of only five provinces to see an increase in sales from August to September. Its gain was the second biggest among the five, after Alberta’s 1.7 per cent.
The September total was also a 1.7 per cent improvement from a year earlier, when $1.38 billion worth of sales were sold. It was the fifth biggest increase among the eight provinces that posted year-over-year gains.
Nationally, Statistics Canada said retail sales edged up 0.1 per cent to $39.1 billion in September, helped by sales of new cars. It was the third straight monthly increase .
The biggest increase, in dollar terms, among all subsectors was a 0.6 per cent rise at motor vehicle and parts dealers, with new car sales up 0.9 per cent.
However, BMO Capital Markets economist Robert Kavcic noted that excluding auto sales, the results were flat and below consensus. Economists had expected growth of 0.5 per cent for the month.
"Indeed, sales growth has now cooled to a humble 1.8 per cent year over year as Canadian retailers face some stiff challenges," Kavcic wrote in a note to clients.
"In addition to cooling domestic consumer credit growth, this weekend’s likely stampede of shoppers south of the border will highlight the other challenges — a loonie near parity, more generous duty-free limits and more aggressive U.S. sale prices."
— with files by Canadian Press