B.C. retail strong despite falling sales across Canada

Retail sales remain strong in British Columbia despite large declines across the rest of the country. British Columbia was one of three provinces to have its retail sales grow more than 1% in April from March. B.C.’s retail growth was in the face of large-scale declines of 1.2% across the rest of the country.

The negative retail numbers across the rest of the country were unexpected. The consensus projections were that sales would remain unchanged in April.

B.C. had the third highest growth in retail sales of 1.1% behind Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, which each beat 2%.

Growth in retail sales occurred predominantly outside the city of Vancouver. Within the city, retail sales grew a meagre 0.2% in April from March.

“Indeed, bad weather impacted the headline and sent volumes down to a level not seen since the beginning of 2017,” said Katherine Judge, economist at CIBC, in a note to investors.”

Few catagories posted increases in April, including food and beverage increasing 2.3%  as well as electronic and appliances increasing 1.6%.

Gas sales also increased by 1.4%, despite rising gas prices. Despite slowing sales, GDP continues to track above expectations at 2.4%.