Christmas sales season could be a struggle for some retailers.
Total Canadian retail sales increased just 2.9% in Q3 2018, per recently released non-adjusted data from Statistics Canada. This was the weakest Q3 gain since 2015, and far lower than the 7.3% gain recorded for Q3 last year.
Year-to-date retail 9 mo. sales growth is up just 3.4%, and is likely to end the year even lower if current trends persist. If gasoline station sales are excluded, the 2018 retail sales growth would be only a thin 1.8%.
StatsCan Electronics & appliance stores continue to out-perform other retailer types in the store merchandise sector, increasing 7.9% in Q3 and 9.8% YTD.
StatsCan reports that Sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores were flat in Q3 and 0.5% YTD.
Canadian E-Commerce Sales
StatsCan started providing ecommerce retail sales data in January 2016.
Overall, e-commerce represented about 2.8% of total Canadian retail sales for the 12 months ending September 2018, including both pure play operators as well as the online operations of brick & mortar stores. Canadian consumers however also buy online from foreign websites which is not captured in these numbers.