Canadian retail sales ease in April

June 19, 2009 at 9:53 AM

OTTAWA, June 19 (UPI) -- Retail sales in Canada decreased by 0.8 percent in April to $33.5 billion, Statistics Canada reported Friday.

Of eight sectors, sales declined in five, two of which represent 60 percent of all sales. The automotive sector fell 1.9 percent and food and beverage stores were down 1 percent, StatsCan said.

For the first time in more than a year, the price of food purchased at stores edged down, yet sales at supermarkets were down 0.7 percent in April. Beer, wine and liquor stores registered their first monthly decline in 2009, with sales down 1.7 percent. StatsCan said.

"Furniture, home furnishings and electronics stores posted their ninth consecutive monthly decline in April with a 0.8 percent decrease in sales," the report said. "Since July 2008, sales in this sector have fallen 11.4 percent."

Regionally, retail sales were down in six provinces, led by a 2.5 percent drop in Quebec and a 1.1 percent dip in Ontario. In Prince Edward Island, sales rose 1.7 percent, followed by a 1.3 percent gain in British Columbia, the report said.

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