Canada: Retail trade, June 2018

Following a 2.2% increase in May, retail sales edged down 0.2% in June to $50.7 billion. Sales were down in 6 of 11 subsectors, representing 52% of total retail trade.

Lower sales at gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers more than offset higher sales at food and beverage stores and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers. Excluding the first two subsectors, retail sales were up 0.3%.

After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales decreased 0.3%.

On a quarterly basis, retail sales were up 1.0% in the second quarter following a 0.5% decrease in the first quarter. In volume terms, retail sales increased 0.9% in the second quarter.

Lower sales at gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers
After increasing 5.2% in May, sales at gasoline stations decreased 2.3%, in part due to lower prices at the pump in June. In volume terms, sales at gasoline stations decreased 0.4%.

Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers (-0.7%) were down for the second time in three months. Lower sales at new car dealers (-0.6%) and automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (-3.8%) accounted for the majority of the decline.

Higher receipts were reported at food and beverage stores (+0.9%). Gains were reported at all store types within this subsector, led by supermarkets and other grocery stores (+1.2%). Specialty food stores, convenience stores and beer, wine and liquor stores were all up for the fourth consecutive month.

Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+1.1%) and health and personal care stores (+0.6%) also reported higher sales in June.

Sales down in six provinces

Retail sales were down in six provinces in June.

British Columbia (-1.8%) reported the largest decrease in dollar terms, with sales down in 10 of 11 subsectors. Following a 1.0% decline in May, lower sales were also reported in the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Vancouver (-2.1%).

After increasing for five consecutive months, retail sales declined 1.2% in Alberta. Despite this decline, sales remain above the level in April.

In Quebec, retail sales declined 0.7%, largely due to lower sales at new car dealers. Retail sales in the Montréal CMA (-0.3%) were also down.

Retail sales in Ontario rose 0.7% on the strength of higher sales at food and beverage stores and, to a lesser extent, motor vehicle and parts dealers. In the Toronto CMA (+2.0%), retail sales rose for the fourth time in five months.

Sales continued their upward trend in Manitoba (+1.8%), while retail sales in Saskatchewan rose 1.4%, which more than offset the decline in May.

E-commerce sales by Canadian retailers

The figures in this section are based on unadjusted (that is, not seasonally adjusted) estimates.

On an unadjusted basis, retail e-commerce sales totalled $1.4 billion, representing 2.6% of total retail trade. On a year-over-year basis, retail e-commerce rose 18.0%, while total unadjusted retail sales increased 4.2%


This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Dean Popplewell

Dean Popplewell

Vice-President of Market Analysis at MarketPulse
Dean Popplewell has nearly two decades of experience trading currencies and fixed income instruments. He has a deep understanding of market fundamentals and the impact of global events on capital markets. He is respected among professional traders for his skilled analysis and career history as global head of trading for firms such as Scotia Capital and BMO Nesbitt Burns. Since joining OANDA in 2006, Dean has played an instrumental role in driving awareness of the forex market as an emerging asset class for retail investors, as well as providing expert counsel to a number of internal teams on how to best serve clients and industry stakeholders.
Dean Popplewell