Retail trade, September 2012

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Retail sales edged up 0.1% to $39.1 billion in September, following increases in the previous two months. Retail sales in volume terms were flat.

Chart 1 
Retail sales edge up in September
Chart 1: Retail sales edge up in September

Chart description: Retail sales edge up in September

CSV version of the chart

In current dollars, gains were reported in 7 of 11 subsectors, representing almost 70% of total retail trade.

The largest increase in dollar terms among all subsectors was a 0.6% rise at motor vehicle and parts dealers. A 0.9% increase at new car dealers was partially offset by a 2.7% decline at automotive parts, accessories and tire stores.

Following two monthly declines, sales rose 2.5% at miscellaneous store retailers. Stores in this subsector include used merchandise stores, office supplies and stationery stores, and pet supplies stores.

Clothing and clothing accessories store sales increased 0.8% after falling for the previous three months. Higher sales were reported by clothing stores (+0.8%) and shoe stores (+2.5%), while sales fell at jewellery, luggage and leather goods stores (-0.8%).

Food and beverage store receipts edged up 0.1%, the fourth increase in five months. Sales were up 0.2% at supermarkets and other grocery stores. Specialty food stores (+1.4%) rose for a fifth consecutive month. Beer, wine and liquor store sales declined 1.0%.

Sales at electronics and appliance stores rose 0.8%. Sales in this store type have been on a general downward trend since the end of 2011, mainly as a result of lower receipts from sales of televisions.

General merchandise store sales decreased 0.7%. Department store sales declined 0.9%, while the "other general merchandise stores" industry had a sales decrease of 0.6%.

Sales at gasoline stations declined 0.6% after two consecutive monthly increases.

Sales up in five provinces

Retail sales rose in five provinces in September. Alberta (+1.7%) reported the largest gain in dollar terms, in part a result of higher sales at new car dealers. Sales advanced in this province for three consecutive months.

British Columbia registered a 0.3% sales increase.

The largest decline in dollar terms was in Quebec, where sales fell 0.7%, partly as a result of lower sales at new car dealers.

Sales in Ontario were flat in September, following an increase in August.

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.

It is possible to consult tables of unadjusted data by industry and by province and territory in the Tables by subject module of our website.

For information on related indicators, refer to the Latest statistics page on our website.

Available without charge in CANSIM: tables CANSIM table080-0020 and CANSIM table080-0024.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey numbers survey number2406 and survey number2408.

The September 2012 issue of Retail Trade (Catalogue number63-005-X, free) will soon be available.

Data on retail trade for October will be released on December 20.

For more information or to order data, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136;

For analytical information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Jake Purdy (613-951-0984;, Distributive Trades Division.