Retail trade, October 2012

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Retail sales rose for a fourth consecutive month, increasing 0.7% to $39.4 billion in October. Gains were reported in 8 of 11 subsectors, representing 92% of total retail trade. The increase was led by higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations.

In volume terms, retail sales increased 0.3%.

Chart 1 
Retail sales increase in October
Chart 1: Retail sales increase in October

Chart description: Retail sales increase in October

CSV version of chart 1

The largest increase in dollar terms among all subsectors was a 1.6% rise at motor vehicle and parts dealers. New car dealers reported a fifth consecutive monthly sales gain, rising 1.6%, on the strength of passenger car sales. Automotive parts, accessories and tire stores rose 6.2%, more than offsetting the decline in September. Sales at used car dealers (-2.1%) declined for a fourth consecutive month.

Gasoline station receipts advanced for a fourth month in a row, increasing 1.6%.

Food and beverage store sales increased 0.5% in October, reflecting higher sales at beer, wine and liquor stores (+1.7%) and at supermarkets and other grocery stores (+0.3%). Gains were also reported by speciality food stores (+1.6%), where sales rose for a sixth consecutive month.

Clothing and clothing accessories store sales increased 1.8%. Higher sales were reported by all store types within this subsector.

General merchandise store sales rose 0.5%. Higher sales in the 'other general merchandise stores' industry accounted for the gain, increasing 1.2% in October. Department store sales declined 0.4%.

Furniture and home furnishings store sales (-2.0%) decreased for a third straight month, reflecting weaker sales at furniture stores.

Electronics and appliance stores registered a sales decline of 1.6%. Sales in this store type have been on a general downward trend since the end of 2011.

Sales up in six provinces

Retail sales rose in six provinces in October. The largest contributor to the gain was Quebec, where sales increased 1.8%, following two consecutive monthly sales declines. Higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers were the main reason for this gain.

Following flat sales in September, retail sales in Ontario increased 0.5% in October.

Alberta registered a 0.9% sales gain, the fifth increase in six months.

Nova Scotia reported a 0.6% sales decline for the second consecutive month, with widespread weakness across store types.

Sales in Saskatchewan edged down 0.1% in October, after advancing for eight months in a row.

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. For more information, see Calculation of Volume of Retail Trade Sales.

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

Data on retail trade for November will be released on January 22, 2013.

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 Ashley Ker (613-951-2252;, Distributive Trades Division.