Retail sales rose for the third consecutive month, rising 1.1% to $45.0 billion in October. Higher sales at gasoline stations and general merchandise stores were the main contributors to the gain. Excluding sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales were up 1.4% in October.
Sales were up in 9 of 11 subsectors, representing 90% of total retail trade.
After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms increased 0.6%.
Most subsectors report higher sales
Receipts at gasoline stations rose 3.8% in October, the largest percentage increase since April 2016. This gain reflected higher prices at the pump.
Sales at general merchandise stores advanced 1.9%, the third increase in four months.
Sales at food and beverage stores increased 1.1% in October, more than offsetting the decline in September. Sales at beer, wine and liquor stores (+3.3%) and supermarkets and other grocery stores (+0.8%) contributed to the gain.
Clothing and clothing accessories store sales rose 1.4% in October. Gains were reported in all store types, led by clothing stores (+1.2%).
Sales at miscellaneous store retailers (+2.4%) were up for the second month in a row.
Following a 2.6% increase in September, sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers were essentially unchanged due to mixed results among store types. Higher sales at automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (+1.7%) were offset by declines in other motor vehicle dealers (-1.4%) and used car dealers (-0.1%). After increasing 3.0% in September, sales at new car dealers were flat in October.
After increasing for five consecutive months, sales at electronics and appliance stores declined 1.1%, offsetting the gain in September.
Sales up in eight provinces
Retail sales were up in eight provinces in October.
Ontario (+1.5%) reported the largest increase in dollar terms, with gains widespread across most store types. This was the largest percentage increase since January 2016.
British Columbia (+1.8%) reported higher sales for the fifth consecutive month, largely attributable to higher sales at gasoline stations.
Retail sales in Alberta (+0.8%) and Quebec (+0.5%) were up for the third consecutive month.
Sales in New Brunswick (+1.6%) increased for the third time in four months.
Following a 0.8% decline in September, retail sales were flat in Manitoba.
Following an increase in the harmonized sales tax effective October 1, retail sales declined 1.1% in Prince Edward Island.
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 sales made over the Internet by non-store retailers in the electronic shopping and mail order houses industry and sales made over the Internet by traditional store retailers.
On an unadjusted basis, retail e-commerce sales in October reached $1.1 billion, accounting for 2.3% of total retail sales in Canada.