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Wholesale trade, September 2014

Released: 2014-11-20

Wholesale sales rose 1.8% to $54.0 billion in September. While higher sales were recorded in six of the seven subsectors, accounting for 83% of total wholesale sales, the increase was led by the building material and supplies subsector (+5.5%).

In volume terms, wholesale sales increased 1.8%.

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

Higher sales in six subsectors

The building material and supplies subsector recorded the largest gain in September, rising 5.5% to $8.1 billion. This was largely attributable to the strength of gains in the electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning equipment and supplies industry (+11.5%), which posted a seventh consecutive increase. The subsector has been on an upward trend since January 2014.

Sales in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector rose 2.2% to $11.6 billion, on the strength of the farm, lawn and garden machinery and equipment industry (+10.2%) and the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry (+3.9%).

The personal and household goods subsector rose 1.8% to $7.4 billion. This subsector saw gains in five of six industries.

Sales in the miscellaneous subsector rose 1.8% to $6.8 billion. The agricultural supplies industry (+3.9%) and the other miscellaneous industry (+2.3%) accounted for over half of the gains. The other miscellaneous industry includes wholesalers of goods such as logs, wood chips, minerals, ores and precious metals.

The food, beverage and tobacco subsector increased 1.1% to $10.4 billion, primarily as a result of gains in the food industry (+0.9%), which accounted for over 90% of sales in this subsector.

The motor vehicle and parts subsector (-1.1%) posted the lone decline in September. The decrease in the motor vehicle industry (-3.8%) was largely offset by higher sales in the new motor vehicle parts and accessories industry (+7.2%).

Sales up in eight provinces

In September, sales increased in eight provinces, led by Ontario (+1.5%) and Quebec (+3.7%).

Sales rose 1.5% to $26.4 billion in Ontario, a sixth consecutive increase, with the building material and supplies subsector and the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector contributing the most to the increase.

In dollar terms, Quebec was the second largest contributor to the increase in September, rising 3.7% to $9.9 billion. This was the fourth increase in five months. Gains were recorded in most subsectors, led by the building material and supplies subsector.

Sales in Saskatchewan increased for the fourth time in five months, rising 4.7% to $2.1 billion. The machinery, equipment and supplies subsector and the miscellaneous subsector led the gains.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, sales increased 12.4% to $496 million. This was the third increase in four months for the province.

Sales in British Columbia (+1.1%) increased for the first time in four months, led by gains in the building material and supplies subsector.

New Brunswick (+1.7%) and Prince Edward Island (+5.7%) both recorded their first increase in three months.

Sales were down in Manitoba (-1.4%) and Nova Scotia (-0.7%).

Inventories continue to increase in September

Inventories increased for a ninth consecutive month, rising 0.5% to $67.1 billion in September, the highest level on record. Four of the seven subsectors recorded gains, representing 54% of wholesale inventories.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Wholesale inventories increase in September - Description and data table
Wholesale inventories increase in September

Chart 2: Wholesale inventories increase in September - Description and data table

In dollar terms, the largest gain was in the miscellaneous subsector (+2.0%), an eighth consecutive increase, led by the agricultural supplies industry (+4.0%). Inventories rose for the third time in four months in the motor vehicle and parts subsector (+1.2%), while inventories in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector were up 1.7%, a seventh consecutive monthly increase.

The inventory-to-sales ratio decreased from 1.26 in August to 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 Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

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 Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey covers all industries within the wholesale sector as defined by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), with the exception of oilseed and grain merchant wholesalers (NAICS 41112), petroleum and petroleum products merchant wholesalers (NAICS 412) and business-to-business electronic markets, and agents and brokers (NAICS 419).

The September 2014 issue of Wholesale Trade (Catalogue number63-008-X) will soon be available.

Wholesale trade data for October will be released on December 17.

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), Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade Division.

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