Manitoba’s retail sector is on a bit of a roll, ringing up its third sales increase in the last four months in June.
Statistics Canada said the prvonce’s retailers sold $1.51-billion worth of goods during the month. That was a 1.8 per cent increase from the $1.48 billion in sales recorded in May, and a hefty 6.9 per cent improvement over June 2012’s tally of $1.41 billion.
Statistics Canada said June’s increase was based in large part on the strength of new-car sales.
Manitoba was one of six provinces to report stronger retail sales in June. But only one — Prince Edward Island — saw a bigger month-over-month gain at 2.0 per cent. The year-over-year increase was also the second largest after Alberta’s 7.7 per cent.
Nationally, Canadian retail sales fell a surprisingly large 0.6 per cent in June to $40.1 billion, partially offsetting a large gain in May, as consumers pulled back from purchases of a wide range of products.
"Canadian consumers fared a bit worse than expected," CIBC World Markets economist Emanuella Enenajor said in a research note, noting a 0.8 per cent decline when auto sales are excluded.
"Autos sales were roughly flat, but most other sectors posted acute weakness, including furniture, electronics, building materials, food and clothing," Enenajor wrote.
The June data is disappointing but follow a very strong performance in May, she added.
"To some extent, the month’s numbers were affected by a Quebec labour strike (where the decline in provincial sales was twice the national average) and floods in Alberta (although sales there did no worse than the national average)."
— Staff/Canadian Press