Canada: Retail trade, June 2017

Retail sales rose for the fourth consecutive month in June, edging up 0.1% to $49.0 billion. Sales were up in 6 of 11 subsectors, representing 38% of total retail trade.

Higher sales at general merchandise stores, clothing and clothing accessories stores, and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers offset lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations. Excluding the latter two subsectors, retail sales were up 1.1%.

After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms increased 0.5%.

Retail sales rise

Sales at general merchandise stores rose 2.9% in June, the largest gain in dollar terms and the fifth increase in six months.

Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores rose 2.7%. Higher sales at clothing stores (+3.3%) and shoe stores (+5.3%) both followed decreases in May. Jewellery, luggage and leather goods stores sales (-3.7%) were down for the first time since February 2017.

Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+2.2%) rose for the 9th time in 10 months.

Following a 2.3% gain in May, sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers decreased 1.4%. Lower sales at new car dealers (-2.0%) accounted for the decline at the subsector level, more than offsetting gains at the other store types. Sales at automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (+1.2%) rose for the fifth consecutive month.

Following a 1.2% decline in May, sales at gasoline stations decreased 1.8% in June, in part due to lower gasoline prices.

Sales up in five provinces

Retail sales were up in five provinces in June.

British Columbia (+1.9%) reported the largest increase in dollar terms, with gains in 8 of 11 subsectors. This was the fourth consecutive month of growth.

Retail sales in Quebec rose 0.6% in June, primarily on the strength of higher sales at general merchandise stores and other motor vehicle dealers.

Sales in Alberta (+1.0%) increased for the 10th time in 11 months, with gains across most store types. Retail sales in Alberta have now surpassed the level prior to the downturn in world oil prices in late 2014.

Ontario reported a 0.7% decline, largely stemming from lower sales at new car dealers.

Retail sales increase in two of three census metropolitan areas measured

Nearly 30% of total retail sales take place in Canada’s three largest census metropolitan areas (CMAs), Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver. Historically, only unadjusted data series were available for these CMAs, but starting with this month’s release, seasonally adjusted series are now available.

In June, seasonally adjusted retail sales rose in two of the three CMAs measured. Retail sales in Vancouver (+3.5%) and Montréal (+0.6%) increased, while Toronto reported a 2.4% decline.

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 were $1.2 billion in June, accounting for 2.2% of total retail trade. On a year-over-year basis, retail e-commerce increased 43.5%, while total unadjusted retail sales rose 8.8%.


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Dean Popplewell

Dean Popplewell

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