Higher Prices Lead 2018 Retail Sales Increase

Retail customers spent $654.1 billion at Canadian store and non-store retailers in 2018, leading to a 3.9 per cent increase in operating revenue for the retail trade industry over the previous year, says Statistics Canada in its annual retail trade report for 2018. This rise was largely attributable to higher prices. In 2018, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 2.3 per cent, the largest upswing since 2011. Retail sales in volume terms rose by 0.9 per cent. Other factors that affected the financial position of retailers include a slowdown in household demand, higher interest rates, higher minimum wages in several provinces, and the imposition of tariffs on certain goods imported from the U.S. Retail eCommerce sales for the year grew by 29.2 per cent, the largest year-over-year increase since 2013. eCommerce operating revenue accounted for 3.4 per cent ($22.1 billion) of total store and non-store retail revenue in 2018. Operating revenue at store and non-store retailers was up in all provinces except Newfoundland and Labrador, which saw a drop of 2.2 per cent. Unfinalized retail sales for 2019 were up a modest 1.6 per cent with eCommerce sales up 23.1 per cent year-over-year and eCommerce operating revenue accounting for 3.5 per cent of total retail revenue. r