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Wholesale trade, September 2013

Released: 2013-11-20

Wholesale sales were up for the third month in a row in September, rising 0.2% to $49.8 billion. Sales increased in four of the seven subsectors, accounting for 45% of wholesale sales.

In volume terms, wholesale sales were up 0.2%.

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

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

Sales up in four out of seven subsectors

The largest gain in dollar terms was in the miscellaneous subsector (+1.3%). The increase occurred primarily because of a 4.3% advance in the agricultural supplies industry, following three consecutive monthly declines.

The motor vehicle and parts subsector rose 0.6%, its fourth increase in five months. The gain was based on growth in the new motor vehicle parts and accessories industry (+3.0%), which posted its largest advance since October 2012. After rising 4.7% in August, sales in the motor vehicle industry edged down 0.1% in September.

Sales in the farm product subsector rose 4.8%, the fifth consecutive monthly increase following four months of decline.

The largest decline in dollar terms was in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector (-0.4%). This drop was the result of a 0.6% decrease in the food industry, which accounts for 90% of the subsector's sales.

Sales up in Ontario and Saskatchewan

Wholesale sales were up in six provinces in September.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Wholesale sales up in six provinces in September - Description and data table
Wholesale sales up in six provinces in September

Chart 2: Wholesale sales up in six provinces in September - Description and data table

In Ontario (+0.7%), sales increased for the sixth time in seven months. Higher sales across several subsectors contributed to the growth.

Sales rose 4.6% in Saskatchewan as a result of higher sales in the farm product as well as the building material and supplies subsectors.

In September, three of the four Atlantic provinces reported gains. Newfoundland and Labrador was the lone Atlantic province to post lower sales (-3.1%), its third consecutive decrease.

Following seven gains in eight months, sales in British Columbia fell 2.5% in September, mainly attributable to lower sales in the building material and supplies subsector.

Sales in Quebec decreased 0.6% in September.

Inventory levels down in September

Wholesale inventories declined 0.2% to $61.8 billion in September.

Declines in the motor vehicle and parts (-2.3%) and the building material and supplies (-1.5%) subsectors, more than offset gains in the other five subsectors.

The largest increases in dollar terms were in the personal and household goods (+1.1%) and the machinery, equipment and supplies (+0.4%) subsectors.

The inventory-to-sales ratio was unchanged at 1.24 in September.

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

Wholesale trade data for October will be released on December 18.

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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