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Retail trade, August 2013

Released: 2013-10-22

Retail sales continued their upward trend in August, edging up 0.2% to $40.3 billion. Higher sales at food and beverage stores were partially offset by weaker sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations. Gains were reported in 6 of 11 subsectors, representing 56% of total retail trade.

In volume terms, sales also rose 0.2%.

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

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

A 1.2% increase at food and beverage stores accounted for the largest sales gain among all subsectors. Higher sales were reported at supermarkets and other grocery stores (+1.1%) and beer, wine and liquor stores (+2.1%).

Clothing and clothing accessories stores reported a 1.9% sales gain on the strength of higher receipts at clothing stores (+2.1%) and to a lesser extent shoe stores (+2.7%). Most of the gain reflected higher volumes of product sold.

Sales at building materials and garden equipment and supplies dealers rose 1.1% in August, the third increase in four months.

Sporting goods, hobby, book and music store receipts rose 2.1% in August. Sales in this subsector have been on an upward trend since the beginning of 2013.

Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers (-0.5%) declined for a second consecutive month following six straight monthly increases. Lower sales at new car dealers (-1.0%) more than offset gains at other motor vehicle dealers (+4.0%) and used car dealers (+0.2%).

Following three consecutive monthly gains, sales at gasoline stations declined 0.8%, partially reflecting lower prices at the pump.

Electronics and appliance stores (-1.5%) posted a fourth straight monthly sales decline. Sales in this subsector have been on a downward trend since the end of 2011, in part, as a result of lower prices for the commodities sold by this store type.

Sales up in six provinces

Retail sales rose in six provinces in August, largely led by higher sales in Ontario (+0.3%) and British Columbia (+0.6%). Gains in these two provinces were widespread across subsectors. This was the third sales increase in four months for both provinces.

Retailers in all three Prairie provinces reported gains in August following declines in July. Manitoba (+0.5%) retailers registered the largest increase.

Sales advanced for a sixth straight month in Nova Scotia (+0.3%) on the strength of higher sales at new car dealers.

Weaker sales at new car dealers contributed to a 0.2% sales decrease in Quebec.

Following seven straight monthly increases, sales in New Brunswick declined 0.8% in August.

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

Data on retail trade for September will be released on November 22.

Contact information

For more information, or to order data, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

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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