Canadian retail sales were up 3.8 per cent in the first quarter 2014 vs the 3.2 per cent growth recorded for all of 2013. ; but looks can be deceiving. Retail sales numbers are being almost entirely driven by the automotive sector, which was up 7.2 per cent. Store retail (food, drug, and merchandise) gained only 1.9 per cent. After inflation and population growth, this amounts to no real gain at all.

When consumers are putting more money into cars and gas, they’ll have less to spend when they drive to the mall!