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Wholesale trade, July 2013

Released: 2013-09-19

Wholesale sales increased 1.5% to $49.5 billion in July, following a decline of 3.1% the previous month. Higher sales were reported in four of seven subsectors, representing almost 70% of wholesale sales.

In volume terms, wholesale sales were up 1.4%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Wholesale sales increase in July - Description and data table
Wholesale sales increase in July

Chart 1: Wholesale sales increase in July - Description and data table

Higher sales in most subsectors

In July, the largest increase in dollar terms was in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector, where sales rose 3.2% to $10.6 billion, more than offsetting the decline in June. Sales advanced in all industries in the subsector, led by a 12.0% increase in the farm, lawn and garden machinery and equipment industry. This was the sharpest increase since August 2011 for this industry.

The second largest increase in dollar terms occurred in the building material and supplies subsector (+4.3%), where all three industries advanced. The lumber, millwork, hardware and other building supplies industry (+4.4%) accounted for nearly half of the increase.

The miscellaneous subsector recorded a decline of 1.2%, largely as a result of an 11.5% decrease in sales in the agricultural supplies industry. This was the second decrease after six consecutive months of increases for this industry.

Sales up in most provinces

Wholesalers in seven provinces posted increases in July, with Ontario (+2.1%) accounting for almost 70% of the total growth in sales. The advance in July was the province's fourth in five months.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Wholesale sales up in most provinces in July - Description and data table
Wholesale sales up in most provinces in July

Chart 2: Wholesale sales up in most provinces in July - Description and data table

Sales in Alberta rose 2.8%, the third increase in four months. The advance was largely due to the building material and supplies subsector.

The July increase in Quebec (+1.1%) did not offset the decline in June.

Saskatchewan's 6.1% decline was led by lower sales in the agricultural supplies industry.

Inventory levels edge up in July

Inventories edged up 0.1% to $62.3 billion in July, their fourth consecutive increase. Overall, four of the seven subsectors registered higher inventories.

The largest increases in dollar terms were in the textile, clothing and footwear industry (+12.1%) and the farm, lawn and garden machinery and equipment industry (+4.5%).

The inventory-to-sales ratio decreased to 1.26 in July, after hitting a four-year high of 1.28 in June.

The inventory-to-sales ratio is a measure of the time in months required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level.



  Note to readers

All 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 wholesale sales expressed in volume are calculated by deflating current dollar values using the relevant price indexes. The wholesale sales series in chained (2007) dollars is a chained Fisher volume index with 2007 as the reference year. For more information, see Sales in volume for Wholesale Trade.

The July 2013 issue of Wholesale Trade (Catalogue number63-008-X) will soon be available.

Wholesale trade data for August will be released on October 21.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca).

For analytical information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Rhonda Tsang (613-951-0418; rhonda.tsang@statcan.gc.ca), Distributive Trades Division.

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