Retail sales rise 0.4 per cent in October

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says retailers made $54.6 billion in sales in October, marking the sixth monthly increase since April’s record decline at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The agency says car and truck part dealers led the 0.4 per cent overall increase, as sales of trucks and buses were up 4.1 per cent from this time last year.

Core retail sales, excluding gas stations and vehicle parts, were up 0.3 per cent in October amid a nearly 12 per cent sales bump for sporting goods, hobby, books and music stores.

Furniture stores also saw sales spike 6.6 per cent in October, and building material and gardening shops saw sales rise 2.9 per cent during the month.

But the agency also says that retail sales fell in Ontario during October for the first time since April, amid record increases in COVID-19 cases and stricter public health measures.

Statistics Canada estimates that retail sales nationwide were relatively flat in November heading into the holiday shopping season, although the agency says that’s a preliminary estimate and will be revised.