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Retail trade, June 2013

Released: 2013-08-22

Retail sales declined 0.6% in June to $40.1 billion, partially offsetting the gain in May. In the first six months of 2013, retail sales were up 1.8% compared with the same period in 2012.

Following three straight monthly gains, retail sales in volume terms declined 1.2%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Retail sales decrease in June - Description and data table
Retail sales decrease in June

Chart 1: Retail sales decrease in June - Description and data table

Strong sales in May, a Quebec labour strike, and flooding in southern Alberta contributed to lower sales in 8 of 11 subsectors in June, representing 57% of total retail trade.

The largest sales decrease in dollar terms across all subsectors was a 1.2% decline at food and beverage stores. Weaker sales were reported by all store types within this subsector. Supermarkets and other grocery stores (-0.9%) and beer, wine and liquor stores (-2.1%) were the main contributors to the decline.

Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers fell 1.9% in June, partially offsetting the sales gain in May. This was the third decline in four months.

Clothing and clothing accessories store sales decreased 1.8%, a second decline in three months. The contributors to the decline were weaker sales at clothing stores (-2.3%) and shoe stores (-2.4%).

Following two consecutive monthly gains, sales at general merchandise stores declined 0.8%. Lower sales were reported by department stores (-1.4%) and other general merchandise stores (-0.3%).

Motor vehicle and parts dealers (+0.2%) reported increased sales for a sixth consecutive month. Sales gains at new car dealers (+0.7%) more than offset declines at automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (-2.7%), used car dealers (-1.7%) and other motor vehicle dealers (-1.1%).

Sales at gasoline stations (+0.2%) increased for a second consecutive month as consumers paid higher prices at the pumps. According to the Consumer Price Index, gasoline prices were up in June.

Sales down in four provinces

Retail sales fell in four provinces in June. The largest decline in dollar terms occurred in Ontario, where retailers reported a 1.4% decrease in sales. Higher receipts at motor vehicle and parts dealers did not offset declines in other subsectors.

Retail sales in Quebec (-1.3%) decreased for a third time in four months, with widespread declines across subsectors. For two weeks in June, Quebec faced a labour strike in the construction industry.

Weaker sales in Alberta (-0.6%) were widespread across subsectors, as flooding affected the southern part of the province in June.

Following four straight monthly gains, retailers in Newfoundland and Labrador reported a 1.4% sales decline.

British Columbia (+1.3%), Manitoba (+1.8%) and Saskatchewan (+1.2%) reported sales gains on the strength of new car sales. This was a third gain in four months for these provinces.

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.

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

Data on retail trade for July will be released on September 24.

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.

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