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Retail sales edged up 0.2% in February to $33.7 billion (in current dollars). This comes after large declines in retail sales in November and December, followed by a partial recovery in January. February's slight increase was price-driven, as sales were down 0.3% in volume terms.
Sales rose in five of eight retail sectors. The largest contributors to the increase in February were building and outdoor home supplies stores (+3.0%) and food and beverage stores (+0.7%). Higher sales at building and outdoor home supplies stores did not offset the declines observed in the previous two months, which totalled about 7%. As for food and beverage stores, the increase mostly reflects higher sales at beer, wine and liquor stores.
The largest decline was a 1.9% decrease in sales at furniture, home furnishings and electronics stores in February. Sales in this sector have decreased each month since July 2008.
The automotive sector posted a 0.3% sales decrease, mainly reflecting a 1.6% decline in the value of sales at new car dealers. Partially offsetting this decline was increased sales at gasoline stations, which rose for the second month, mainly reflecting higher prices at the pump.
Sales rose in five provinces, with gains in Quebec (+1.1%) and Ontario (+1.0%) providing the largest contribution to the increase. Offsetting these advances were declines in Alberta and British Columbia, which both fell by 1.3%.
Total retail sales by volume are measured by deflating values in current dollars of the various trade groups using consumer price indexes. This retail sales in chained dollars series (2002) is a chain Fisher volume index with 2002 as the reference year.
Unadjusted monthly estimates were revised back to January 2008, while seasonally adjusted estimates were revised back to January 2005. Factors influencing revisions include late receipt of respondent information, correction of information on data provided, the replacement of estimated figures with actual values (once available), the re-classification of companies within, into and out of the retail trade industry and updates to seasonal and trading day factors. Since seasonal factors are continually changing, revisions may be more significant for some months of the year. However, the annual sum of seasonally adjusted figures corresponds to the annual sum of unadjusted estimates.
Estimates in constant prices were also revised to reflect the annual revision of the retail sales series in current dollars from 2005 onward.
Sales in the Atlantic provinces were essentially flat as higher sales in Newfoundland and Labrador were offset by lower sales in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
|February 2008||November 2008r||December 2008r||January 2009r||February 2009p||January to February 2009||February 2008 to February 2009|
|$ millions||% change|
|New car dealers||6,440||5,840||5,001||5,224||5,141||-1.6||-20.2|
|Used and recreational motor vehicle and parts dealers||1,632||1,646||1,575||1,569||1,565||-0.3||-4.1|
|Furniture, home furnishings and electronics stores||2,578||2,510||2,440||2,417||2,370||-1.9||-8.1|
|Home furnishings stores||516||473||452||450||439||-2.4||-15.0|
|Computer and software stores||116||110||101||104||105||0.5||-9.7|
|Home electronics and appliance stores||1,087||1,107||1,093||1,080||1,056||-2.2||-2.8|
|Building and outdoor home supplies stores||2,264||2,271||2,137||2,115||2,177||3.0||-3.8|
|Home centres and hardware stores||1,837||1,853||1,724||1,697||1,754||3.3||-4.5|
|Specialized building materials and garden stores||427||418||413||417||423||1.4||-0.8|
|Food and beverage stores||7,798||8,198||8,089||8,267||8,326||0.7||6.8|
|Convenience and specialty food stores||838||860||842||841||854||1.6||1.9|
|Beer, wine and liquor stores||1,378||1,429||1,388||1,419||1,452||2.3||5.4|
|Pharmacies and personal care stores||2,388||2,461||2,406||2,485||2,493||0.3||4.4|
|Clothing and accessories stores||2,024||1,981||1,913||1,970||1,970||0.0||-2.7|
|Shoe, clothing accessories and jewellery stores||473||468||448||459||456||-0.6||-3.7|
|General merchandise stores||4,169||4,337||4,319||4,322||4,340||0.4||4.1|
|Sporting goods, hobby, music and book stores||886||894||893||904||898||-0.8||1.3|
|Miscellaneous store retailers||897||921||882||909||919||1.1||2.5|
|Total retail sales||35,558||34,817||33,068||33,668||33,743||0.2||-5.1|
|Total excluding new car dealers, used and recreational motor vehicle and parts dealers||27,486||27,331||26,492||26,875||27,037||0.6||-1.6|
|Provinces and territories|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||582||593||567||568||575||1.1||-1.3|
|Prince Edward Island||142||144||138||139||137||-1.4||-3.0|
For information on related indicators, refer to the Latest statistics page on our website.
Available on CANSIM: tables 080-0014 to 080-0017.
The February 2009 issue of the publication Retail Trade (63-005-XWE, free) will be available shortly.
Data on retail trade for March will be released on May 22.
For more information, or to order data, contact Client Services (613-951-3549; toll-free 1-877-421-3067; firstname.lastname@example.org). For analytical information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Mark Switzer (613-951-7137), Distributive Trades Division.