Retail trade, August 2012
Retail sales rose 0.3% to $39.1 billion in August. After removing the effects of price changes, particularly higher food and gasoline prices, retail sales in volume terms declined 0.3%.
Retail sales increase in August
In current dollars, gains were reported in 5 of 11 subsectors, representing 53% of total retail trade.
The largest increase in dollar terms among all subsectors was a 2.9% rise at gasoline stations, reflecting higher prices at the pump. Sales in this subsector had been relatively flat since the end of 2011.
General merchandise store sales increased for a second consecutive month, rising 0.6% in August. The "other general merchandise stores" industry led the gain, increasing 1.0%. Department store sales edged up 0.2%. Food and non-alcoholic beverages account for approximately 25% of sales at general merchandise stores.
Food and beverage store receipts rose 0.3%, the third increase in four months. Higher sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores (+0.5%) accounted for most of the increase. Food prices according to the Consumer Price Index increased 0.3% in August on a seasonally adjusted monthly basis. Sales in beer, wine and liquor stores declined for a third straight month, decreasing 0.4%.
Sporting goods, hobby, book and music store sales advanced 1.0% in August, more than offsetting declines in June and July.
Sales at miscellaneous retailers declined for a second month in a row, falling 3.1%. Declines in July and August more than offset gains in early 2012. Stores in this subsector include used merchandise stores, office supplies and stationery stores, and pet supplies stores.
Clothing and clothing accessories store sales decreased for a third month in a row, falling 1.1%. Lower sales were reported by all store types within this subsector.
Receipts at motor vehicle and parts dealers edged down 0.2%. Retail sales in the "other motor vehicle dealers" industry (-4.0%) and used car dealers (-2.0%) decreased for a fourth time in five months. These declines were partially offset by a third straight monthly sales gain at automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (+1.6%) and new car dealers (+0.1%).
Sales up in six provinces
Retail sales rose in six provinces in August. Ontario (+0.6%) reported the largest gain in dollar terms after posting flat sales in July.
Nova Scotia (+2.8%) reported a second consecutive monthly increase, with widespread sales gains across store types.
Sales in Saskatchewan rose 0.6%, a seventh month of uninterrupted growth.
Newfoundland and Labrador posted the sixth increase in seven months, with sales gaining 1.0% in August.
British Columbia registered a 0.9% sales decrease, the fifth decline in six months.
Note to readers
All the data in this release are seasonally adjusted and in current dollars, unless otherwise noted. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonal adjustment and identifying economic trends.
Total retail sales expressed in volume are calculated by deflating current dollar values using consumer price indexes. The retail sales series in chained (2007) dollars is a chained Fisher volume index with 2007 as the reference year.
Data for total retail sales in volume, including the chain Fisher volume index, have been revised from January 2004 onward to reflect methodological enhancements. In addition, the reference year has changed from 2002 to 2007 for these volume data. For more information, see Calculation of Volume of Retail Trade Sales.
The former CANSIM table 080-0021 has been replaced by CANSIM table 080-0024. Revised data dating back to January 2004 are now available in this new CANSIM table.
For information on related indicators, refer to the Latest statistics page on our website.
The August 2012 issue of Retail Trade (Catalogue number63-005-X, free) will soon be available.
Data on retail trade for September will be released on November 22.
For more information or to order data, contact Statistics Canada's National Contact Centre (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 613-951-8116; email@example.com).
For analytical information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Ashley Ker (613-951-2252), Distributive Trades Division.
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