Following four months of little change, retail sales rose 0.6% to $44.4 billion in September on the strength of higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers.
Sales were up in 7 of 11 subsectors, representing 65% of retail trade.
After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales increased 0.6%.
Most subsectors post higher sales in September, led by motor vehicle and parts dealers
The largest increase in dollar terms was a 2.4% advance at motor vehicle and parts dealers. This was the first gain in three months and was mainly attributable to new car dealers (+2.8%).
Sales at gasoline stations rose 0.9%, marking the fifth gain in six months for the subsector. The gain in September reflected higher prices at the pump.
Following a 0.4% decrease in August, sales at general merchandise stores (+0.4%) bounced back in September.
The gains at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+0.7%) and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (+0.2%) more than offset the declines in August.
Clothing and clothing accessories stores (+0.2%) edged up in September, but did not offset the decline in August. Results were mixed among store types as clothing stores (+0.2%) and jewellery, luggage and leather goods stores (+0.8%) more than offset the decline at shoe stores (-0.7%).
Sales at electronics and appliance stores (+0.3%) increased for the fifth consecutive month, marking the first time since mid-2008 that sales in this subsector have posted five consecutive gains.
Receipts at food and beverage stores decreased 0.8% in September. Lower sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores (-0.7%) as well as beer, wine and liquor stores (-1.8%) were the main contributors to the decline. According to the Consumer Price Index, prices for food purchased from stores recorded their first year-over-year decline since March 2008, down 0.9% in the 12 months to September.
Sales at health and personal care stores (-0.6%) and miscellaneous store retailers (-0.3%) were also down in September.
Sales up in eight provinces
Retail sales were up in eight provinces in September. Higher sales in Quebec (+0.9%), Ontario (+0.4%) and British Columbia (+0.9%) accounted for most of the increase.
Retailers in Quebec reported a 0.9% gain in September due in large part to higher sales of trucks at new car dealers.
Following a 0.3% decline in August, retail sales rose 0.4% in Ontario. Higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers more than offset lower sales at food and beverage stores.
Sales in British Columbia (+0.9%) increased for the fourth consecutive month.
Following a 0.2% gain in August, retail sales in Alberta were up 0.3% on the strength of higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers. Results were mixed among other subsectors.
In the Atlantic provinces, sales were up for the second time in three months in both New Brunswick (+1.7%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (+1.5%). In Nova Scotia (+0.8%), retail sales increased for the third consecutive month. In Prince Edward Island (+3.9%), sales rose on the strength of higher sales at new car dealers, which preceded an increase in the harmonized sales tax in the province.
Introducing a new data series: E-Commerce sales by Canadian retailers
The figures in this section are based on unadjusted (that is, not seasonally adjusted) estimates.
Retail e-commerce is the combination of retail sales made over the Internet by traditional store retailers and retail sales made over the Internet by non-store retailers in the electronic shopping and mail order houses industry.
On an unadjusted basis, e-commerce sales by Canadian retailers in September were $958 million, accounting for 2.1% of total retail sales in Canada.
In the first nine months of 2016, the e-commerce proportion of total retail sales has ranged from 1.9% in July to 2.3% in January.
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