Canadian retail spending increased six per cent year-over-year in November thanks largely to a 13.7-per-cent price hike for automotive and household fuels, Statistics Canada said Wednesday.
Spending on those fuels soared 23.8 per cent, compared with November 2021. This was those fuels' 21st consecutive month with a year-over-year increase in the value of products sold. The large increase in November had more to do with higher gasoline prices, however, than a surge in the volume purchased.
Inflation for all goods in November was 6.8 per cent, which was higher than the six-per-cent increase in overall retail spending.
Chances are that spending on fuels was also up year-over-year in December given that gasoline prices continued to soarthroughout that month.
Despite the soaring costs involved in operating motor vehicles, sales for those vehicles remained remained strong in November, rising 6.1 per cent compared with the same month in 2021, the nation's number cruncher said.
The largest contributor to that gain was sales for new motor vehicles, which were up 8.3 per cent, led by sales for new minivans, sport utility vehicles and light trucks, which were up 16.7 per cent.
Sales for used motor vehicles in November increased by a comparatively small 3.7 per cent, compared with November 2021. Sales for minivans, sport utility vehicles and light trucks that were previously owned jumped 10.6 per cent in November. The used-car sector was hurt by a 11.7-per-cent decline in the value of sales for passenger automobiles, Statistics Canada said.
Grocery prices continued to drain more of consumers' budgets as Canadians spent seven per cent more on groceries in November than they did in the same month in 2021. Again, inflation played a role as prices for food purchased from stores increased 11.4 per cent year-over-year in November, compared with the same month in 2021.
The increase in total spending on retail food was up for the ninth consecutive month.
Sales for fresh food in November was up 5.8 per cent from November 2021. Sales for eggs and dairy products (except frozen desserts) jumped 8.3 per cent in November compared with the same month in 2021. Packaged shelf-stable food sales were up 8.6 per cent while frozen food sales were up 9.4 per cent in November, compared with November 2021. In all of those cases, the cause for the rise in total sales had more to do with inflation than an increase in the volume sold.
Sales of soft drinks and alcoholic beverages rose 3.9 per cent in November, compared with the same month in 2021, while sales for soft drinks and non-alcoholic beverages led that gain, with a 13.7 per cent jump in sales in November compared with the same month in 2021, Statistics Canada said.
There were some retail categories where the value of products sold in November was less than in November 2021. Furniture sales and sales for housewares, appliances and electronics were down 3.1 per cent in November, compared with November 2021.
Higher interest rates in November helped slow home sales, leading to fewer people in the market to buy new furniture for their new homes.
Sales specifically for indoor home furniture were down 8.2 per cent, while sales for home furnishings more generally were down 6.6 per cent and sales for home appliances were down 4.7 per cent in November compared with the same month in 2021. The only gainer in the larger home furnishings category was sales for housewares, which was up 4.4 per cent in November, compared with the same month in 2021, according to Statistics Canada.