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Retail trade, April 2014

Released: 2014-06-20

Retail sales increased for the fourth consecutive month in April, advancing 1.1% to $41.6 billion. Gains were widespread as 10 of 11 subsectors, representing 98% of retail trade, posted increases.

In volume terms, retail sales increased 0.8%.

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

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

Motor vehicle and parts dealers lead the gain

A 2.4% increase at motor vehicle and parts dealers accounted for the largest gain among all subsectors. Following flat sales in February and March, sales were up 3.2% at new car dealers in April. The gain in April was partially offset by the fourth consecutive monthly decline at other motor vehicle dealers (-2.6%), reflecting in part a delayed start to spring weather.

Receipts at food and beverage stores (+0.6%) increased for the fifth consecutive month, on the strength of higher sales at beer, wine and liquor stores (+2.1%). Sales were also up at supermarkets and other grocery stores (+0.2%), convenience stores (+1.1%) and specialty food stores (+0.6%).

Sales at general merchandise stores rose 0.9%, as the gain at other general merchandise stores (+1.3%) more than offset their decline in March. Sales at department stores (+0.5%) rose for the third time in four months.

Following a decline in March, sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores rose 1.5%. Higher receipts were posted at both clothing stores (+1.4%) and shoe stores (+6.8%). Jewellery, luggage and leather goods stores (-3.2%) registered lower sales for the first time in four months.

Sales increased for the sixth time in seven months at both health and personal care stores (+0.8%) and gasoline stations (+0.4%).

Sales at electronics and appliance stores (+1.2%) increased for the fourth consecutive month. This was the first time since mid 2010 that sales in this subsector have posted four consecutive gains.

Miscellaneous store retailers was the only subsector to decline in April, edging down 0.2%.

Sales up in six provinces

Retail sales were up in six provinces in April. Higher sales in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia accounted for most of the increase.

Sales in Ontario (+1.9%) rose for the third time in four months. April's increase was on the strength of higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and food and beverage stores.

A 1.5% advance in Quebec was principally attributable to higher sales at new car dealers and clothing and clothing accessories stores.

British Columbia reported a 1.6% increase from higher sales at building, material and garden equipment and supplies dealers.

Retail sales in Alberta (-0.9%) declined for the first time in 2014, largely as a result of lower sales at new car dealers and building, material and garden equipment and supplies dealers.

In the Atlantic provinces, lower sales were posted in Nova Scotia (-0.3%), Prince Edward Island (-1.3%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (-0.1%), while the increase in New Brunswick (+1.2%) failed to offset the sales decline in March.

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 data in this release are seasonally adjusted and in current dollars, unless otherwise noted. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

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

Data on retail trade for May will be released on July 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), Retail and Service Industries Division.

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