Latest retail stats show first quarterly sales decline in three years

by Canadian Shipper

Quarterly retail sales fell for the first time in three years. Statistics Canada reports that sales were down 0.9% in the third quarter compared with the second.

Retailers in the automotive (-2.8%) and clothing (-2.8%) sectors posted the largest declines in the third quarter, but those in the furniture (+1.6%) and food (+1.5%) sectors saw the strongest gains.

The increase in the furniture sector followed a 0.8% decline in the second quarter, when it was the only retail sector with dropping sales. The second-quarter retreat also ended five years of consecutive quarterly sales advances in the furniture sector.

Retailers in Quebec and Ontario were among the hardest hit in both September and in the third quarter of 2001.

Retail sales were down in seven provinces in September, led by significant declines in Prince Edward Island (-3.5%), Ontario (-2.4%), Quebec (-2.0%) and Alberta (-2.0%). On a quarterly basis, the largest declines were reported by retailers in Quebec (-2.4%), New Brunswick (-2.1%) and Ontario (-1.3%).

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