Retail sales edged up 0.1% in October to $43.4 billion. Sales were up in 7 of 11 subsectors, representing 59% of retail trade.
After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms declined 0.3%.
Clothing and footwear lead retail sales increase
Higher sales of clothing and footwear contributed to gains at clothing and clothing accessories stores (+1.9%), sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (+4.9%), as well as general merchandise stores (+0.6%). Clothing and clothing accessories account for about one-seventh of sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores and one-tenth of sales at general merchandise stores.
Within the clothing and clothing accessories stores subsector, higher receipts were reported at all store types as sales at clothing stores (+1.8%), shoe stores (+3.6%) and jewellery, luggage and leather goods stores (+1.1%) increased in October.
The gain at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores more than offset declines in August and September.
Following a 0.3% decrease in September, sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers (+0.4%) rose for the eighth time in nine months. The increase in the subsector stemmed from higher sales at used car dealers (+3.3%), with gains registered across most provinces. Sales at new car dealers edged up 0.1% in October. Gains were also reported at automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (+0.5%) as well as other motor vehicle dealers (+0.4%).
After decreasing in September, sales at furniture and home furnishings stores rose 0.5%. Sales at furniture stores were up 1.4%, while home furnishing stores reported a 1.1% decline.
Following two months of gains, receipts at food and beverage stores decreased 1.2% in October. Lower sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores (-0.8%) and beer, wine and liquor stores (-2.5%) contributed in equal measure to the decline. Lower sales were also reported at convenience stores (-2.7%).
Electronics and appliance stores (-2.1%) posted their fourth consecutive monthly sales decrease.
Sales at gasoline stations declined 0.4% in October, reaching their lowest level since January 2015.
Sales up in four provinces
Retail sales were up in four provinces in October. Higher sales in Ontario and, to a much lesser extent, Quebec more than offset lower sales in Alberta, British Columbia and Nova Scotia.
Following declines in August and September, Ontario (+0.5%) reported the largest increase in dollar terms on the strength of higher sales at new car dealers and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores.
Sales were up 0.2% in Quebec, as higher sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores more than offset lower sales at new car dealers.
In New Brunswick (+1.2%), retail sales rose for the eighth time in nine months.
Newfoundland and Labrador (+1.1%) reported the first increase in three months as a result of higher sales at new car dealers.
Receipts in Alberta (-0.8%) declined for the third month in a row, as lower sales were reported at food and beverage stores and clothing and clothing accessories stores.
Sales fell 1.3% in Nova Scotia, as lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers more than offset gains at building material, garden equipment and supplies dealers.
Following a peak in September, sales in British Columbia declined 0.3% in October. This was mainly the result of lower sales at beer, wine and liquor stores and clothing stores.