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Retail trade, January 2014

Released: 2014-03-21

Retail sales rose 1.3% to $40.7 billion in January, partially offsetting the decline in December. Gains were reported in 7 of 11 subsectors, representing 83% of total retail sales.

Constant dollar sales increased 1.4%, indicative of higher volumes of goods sold.

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

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

Most subsectors post higher sales in January, led by motor vehicle and parts dealers

In January, six subsectors experienced a bounce back from lower sales in December, led by a 2.2% advance at motor vehicle and parts dealers. The increase in this subsector was mainly attributable to new car dealers (+2.3%), while gains were also reported at used car dealers (+6.3%) and other motor vehicle dealers (+1.1%).

The 7.0% sales advance at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers almost offset the weather influenced decline in December.

General merchandise store receipts increased 2.2% in January on the strength of higher sales at department stores (+5.3%), while sales at other general merchandise stores were unchanged. In December, other general merchandise stores were one of the few store types to see sales rise.

Sales at gasoline stations (+0.9%) rose for the third consecutive month.

The largest decline in dollar terms was in the health and personal care stores subsector (-1.3%), where sales decreased for the first time since February 2013. Much of the decline came from lower sales at cosmetics, beauty supplies and perfume stores and, to a lesser extent, pharmacies and drug stores.

Sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (-2.4%) declined for the fourth time in five months.

Sales up in nine provinces

Retail sales rose in nine provinces in January, after falling in every province in December. The increase was largely attributable to higher sales in the western provinces.

Alberta (+3.5%) reported the largest increase in dollar terms from widespread gains across most store types.

Following a 3.9% decrease in December, retail sales rose sharply in Manitoba (+6.1%) as higher sales were reported at new car dealers. Sales rose in 8 of the past 10 months.

Sales in Ontario advanced 0.5%, following a 1.9% decline in December.

January saw the first increase in five months for Prince Edward Island (+2.1%) and the first in four months for Nova Scotia (+1.5%) and New Brunswick (+1.7%).

Retail sales in Quebec edged down 0.1%, largely as a result of lower sales at new car dealers and, to a lesser extent, pharmacies and drug stores. This was the third decrease in four months.

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."

At the end of each calendar year, seasonally adjusted monthly figures are revised to equal the sum of the unadjusted estimates. Revised seasonally adjusted figures are presented this month for September to November 2013. The complete revision of seasonally adjusted data for the 2013 calendar year will be released in April 2014.

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 January 2014 issue of Retail Trade (Catalogue number63-005-X) will soon be available.

Data on retail trade for February will be released on April 23.

Contact information

For more information, or to order data, 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 Kimberley Evans (613-951-0502; kimberley.evans@statcan.gc.ca), Distributive Trades Division.

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