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Retail sales in current dollars rose 0.8% in August to $34.5 billion, offsetting the decline in July. The bulk of the increase came from higher sales at gasoline stations and new car dealers. Excluding these retailers, sales were flat.
Retail sales have generally been rising since the beginning of 2009, following a sharp decline at the end of 2008. On a year-over-year basis, sales in August were 3.7% lower than in August 2008.
In volume terms, retail sales increased 0.4% in August.
The automotive sector saw the largest gain in retail sales in August, rising 2.4%. Sales at gasoline stations increased 3.9% and were the largest contributor to the gain. Although gasoline stations comprise around 11% of retail sales, they have accounted for about 29% of the month-to-month movement in retail sales since August 2008.
In the rest of the automotive sector, sales at new car dealers increased 2.2% following two months of relatively flat sales. A major contributor to this increase was higher sales of trucks, as reported in the New Motor Vehicle Sales Survey. Sales at used and recreational motor vehicle and parts dealers were flat (-0.2%) for a second consecutive month.
Sales in the building and outdoor home supplies store sector (+0.5%) increased for a second consecutive month in August. Despite following an upward trend in 2009, sales in this sector have not yet offset the substantial decrease in December 2008.
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.
Sales declined at general merchandise stores (-0.4%) and miscellaneous retailers (-0.2%). The decline in miscellaneous retailers was due to a 0.7% decrease in sporting goods, hobby, music and book stores.
Retail sales rose in eight provinces in August. Ontario (+1.2%) was the largest contributor to the national increase, following two months of relatively stable sales.
New Brunswick posted the largest increase with sales up 3.2%. The rise was driven mainly by higher sales in the automotive sector. Sales rebounded in Nova Scotia (+1.7%) in August, nearly offsetting the decline in July.
The two provinces where retail sales declined in August were Newfoundland and Labrador (-0.9%) and Alberta (-0.2%). Retail sales in Newfoundland and Labrador fell for a second consecutive month, after rising every month since January 2009.
|August 2008||May 2009r||June 2009r||July 2009r||August 2009p||July to August 2009||August 2008 to August 2009|
|$ millions||% change|
|New car dealers||5,974||5,623||5,648||5,665||5,792||2.2||-3.1|
|Used and recreational motor vehicle and parts dealers||1,608||1,498||1,532||1,531||1,527||-0.2||-5.0|
|Furniture, home furnishings and electronics stores||2,637||2,378||2,396||2,385||2,386||0.0||-9.5|
|Home furnishings stores||514||472||467||472||473||0.3||-8.0|
|Computer and software stores||119||104||98||101||97||-4.3||-18.4|
|Home electronics and appliance stores||1,141||1,035||1,058||1,034||1,032||-0.2||-9.6|
|Building and outdoor home supplies stores||2,300||2,226||2,209||2,229||2,241||0.5||-2.6|
|Home centres and hardware stores||1,878||1,816||1,806||1,828||1,837||0.5||-2.2|
|Specialized building materials and garden stores||422||410||402||400||404||0.9||-4.4|
|Food and beverage stores||8,006||8,249||8,327||8,211||8,221||0.1||2.7|
|Convenience and specialty food stores||846||844||849||844||858||1.6||1.4|
|Beer, wine and liquor stores||1,415||1,446||1,470||1,450||1,462||0.8||3.3|
|Pharmacies and personal care stores||2,453||2,528||2,559||2,581||2,582||0.0||5.2|
|Clothing and accessories stores||1,994||1,928||1,937||1,925||1,929||0.2||-3.2|
|Shoe, clothing accessories and jewellery stores||469||447||449||441||442||0.2||-5.7|
|General merchandise stores||4,333||4,357||4,335||4,356||4,339||-0.4||0.1|
|Sporting goods, hobby, music and book stores||906||927||938||936||930||-0.7||2.7|
|Miscellaneous store retailers||929||899||890||888||891||0.3||-4.1|
|Total retail sales||35,802||34,036||34,369||34,209||34,475||0.8||-3.7|
|Total excluding new car dealers, used and recreational motor vehicle and parts dealers||28,219||26,916||27,190||27,013||27,156||0.5||-3.8|
|Provinces and territories|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||599||601||610||608||603||-0.9||0.7|
|Prince Edward Island||145||141||141||140||141||0.6||-2.3|
For information on related indicators, refer to the Latest statistics page on our website.
Available on CANSIM: tables 080-0014 to 080-0017.
The August 2009 issue of Retail Trade (63-005-X, free) will be available shortly.
Data on retail trade for September will be released on November 23.
For more information, or to order data, contact Client Services (613-951-3549; toll-free 1-877-421-3067; email@example.com). 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.