The Daily
 In the news  Indicators  Releases by subject
 Special interest  Release schedule  Information

Retail trade, February 2013

Released: 2013-04-23

Retail sales rose 0.8% to $39.5 billion in February, a second consecutive monthly sales gain. Higher sales were reported in 7 of 11 subsectors, representing 82% of total retail trade.

After removing the effects of price changes, particularly higher gasoline prices, retail sales in volume terms were flat.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Retail sales increase in February - Description and data table
Retail sales increase in February

Chart 1: Retail sales increase in February - Description and data table

The largest advance in dollar terms among all subsectors was a 2.8% rise at general merchandise stores. Higher sales in the "other general merchandise stores" industry accounted for most of the gain, increasing 4.4% in February. Department store sales rose 0.8%.

Following three straight monthly declines, sales at gasoline stations increased 1.9% as a result of higher prices at the pump.

Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers rose for a second month in a row, up 1.0% in February. Sales gains at new car dealers (+2.0%) more than offset declines at "other motor vehicle dealers" (-7.3%) and used car dealers (-2.3%).

Following flat sales in January, electronics and appliance stores reported a 1.3% sales gain in February. Despite this gain, sales in this subsector have been on a downward trend since the beginning of 2012.

Food and beverage store sales edged up 0.1%. A 0.3% increase at supermarkets and other grocery stores was partially offset by a 0.6% decline at beer, wine and liquor stores.

The 2.5% decline in receipts at furniture and home furnishings stores did not offset the sales gain in January. Lower sales at furniture stores (-2.9%) was the main contributor to the decline.

Clothing and clothing accessories stores reported a 0.6% decrease in February. Following two consecutive monthly gains, receipts at clothing stores declined 0.8%. This was partially offset by a third straight monthly sales gain at shoe stores (+2.4%).

Sales up in eight provinces

Retail sales rose in eight provinces in February. Alberta (+2.2%) reported the largest gain in dollar terms. This was the third rise in sales in Alberta in four months.

Receipts in Ontario (+0.7%) and Quebec (+0.7%) increased for a second consecutive month.

Manitoba retail sales advanced 2.0% in February, more than offsetting declines in December and January.

The 0.3% sales decrease in British Columbia partially offset the gain in January. Sales in this province have been relatively flat since the middle of 2012.

For a third straight month, retailers in Nova Scotia (-0.6%) reported sales declines.

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.

  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.

With this release, retail trade data are based on the 2012 North American Industry Classification System. Unadjusted and seasonally adjusted monthly data were revised back to January 2004. Factors influencing revisions include late receipt of respondent information, correction of information in the 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 factors.

Data in volume terms have also been revised back to January 2004.

The February 2013 issue of Retail Trade (Catalogue number63-005-X) will soon be available.

Data on retail trade for March will be released on May 22.

Contact information

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.

Date modified: