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Retail trade, October 2013

Released: 2013-12-20

Following three consecutive monthly gains, retail sales edged down 0.1% in October to $40.7 billion. Lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers were not entirely offset by gains in food and beverage stores.

Sales in 4 of 11 subsectors declined representing 41% of retail trade.

In volume terms, retail sales grew 0.2% in October.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Retail sales edge down in October - Description and data table
Retail sales edge down in October

Chart 1: Retail sales edge down in October - Description and data table

The largest contributor to the decrease in dollar terms across all subsectors was a 1.9% decline in sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers. Sales at new car dealers declined 1.6% in October, following a 4.6% increase in September. Sales at used car dealers (-0.6%) fell for the third straight month and other motor vehicle dealers (-5.0%) reported a decline for a second consecutive month.

Weaker sales were reported at gasoline stations (-1.6%) as prices fell in October.

Furniture and home furnishing stores posted a 1.9% decrease. Furniture stores saw their sales decrease 1.3%. Following six months of increases, sales at home furnishings stores declined 3.0%.

Sales at food and beverage stores rose 1.7% on the strength of supermarkets and other grocery stores (+2.2%).

Higher sales at specialty food stores (+0.7%) and beer, wine and liquor stores (+0.4%) also contributed to the increase.

Following five consecutive months of decreases, receipts at electronics and appliance stores rose 2.7%.

Sales at general merchandise stores rose 0.2%. Sales gains at department stores (+0.6%) did not offset the previous month's decline. Following three months of gains, sales at other general merchandise stores edged down 0.1%.

Receipts at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+0.2%) increased for a fourth straight month in October.

Retail sales decrease in seven provinces

Retail sales were down in seven provinces in October.

Following three monthly gains, retail sales in Ontario declined 0.5% as fewer new cars were sold.

Lower sales were reported in the Atlantic provinces, with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador (+0.9%).

October saw retail sales increase in Alberta (+0.3%) for the fourth consecutive month.

Sales in Manitoba (+1.0%) increased for a third straight month. October's sales gains were widespread among store types.

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

Data on retail trade for November will be released on January 23, 2014.

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 Kimberley Evans (613-951-0502;, Distributive Trades Division.

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