Canadian retail sales for October came in stronger than expected, rising 0.4 percent.
Statistics Canada said Friday that total sales activity for the month reached $ 54.6 billion, marking the sixth consecutive monthly increase since the record low in April.
Statistics Canada said the sales growth was led by auto and parts dealers. Sales at new car dealerships increased by 0.8 percent.
The consensus forecast from economists was for sales to rise 0.2 percent in October, after the 1.9 percent jump in September.
Sales in British Columbia were up 2.1 percent, with health and personal care stores, as well as dealers of building materials and garden equipment, further contributing to the increase. In Alberta, sales were up 1.1 percent as auto and parts dealers increased sales.
In Ontario, retail activity fell for the first time since April, in conjunction with a record number of COVID-19 cases and stricter public health measures within the province. Sales in Ontario were down 0.4 percent, with the decline led by clothing and accessory stores.
Statistics Canada said its advance forecast for November indicates that retail activity is expected to remain relatively unchanged.
“Retail sales have made a remarkable rebound, after spurring a V-shaped recovery,” BMO economist Priscilla Thiagamorthy said in a commentary.
But with restrictions tightening amid outbreaks of new virus infections, we expect some flexibility in activity in the coming months.
Derek Holt of Scotiabank Economics notes that overall sales volumes are now 5% higher than they were just before the outbreak and “so the public sector has recovered further.”
After accounting for auto and gasoline sales, he said, sales volumes were up about eight percent compared to pre-epidemic levels.