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Retail sales fall for 1st time this year as consumers start to tap out

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Consumers put away their wallets more often in July as retail sales fell for the first time since 2021 in the face of soaring inflation, it was revealed Friday.

Canadian retailers posted $61.3 billion in sales in July, Statistics Canada reported Friday. He fell 2.5% from the previous month’s level due to lower sales at gas stations and clothing stores.

Gas station sales fell 14%. Much of that was due to lower prices for the fuel itself, but even in terms of volume, sales fell by 7%. Car sales fell 0.5%, which is in line with the overall car segment, with fewer people filling their cars in the month. Both new and used car dealers reported declines.

Consumables like food and beverages weren’t flying off the shelves either, as supermarket and grocery store sales fell 0.9% and liquor store sales fell 1.2%.

Weak retail sales figures suggest that consumers are starting to throw away their wallets in the face of very high prices and a bleak economic outlook.

“The retail sales were clearly weak, suggesting that consumers tightened their purse strings in July,” said Ksenia Bushmeneva, an economist at TD Bank. “Consumer demand appears to have cooled broadly across most categories of spending.”

“All in all, consumers are becoming more thrifty given the triple headwinds of rising consumer prices, rapidly rising interest rates and declining wealth.”

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