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Wholesale trade, October 2014

Released: 2014-12-17

Wholesale sales edged up 0.1% to $54.2 billion in October, a second consecutive monthly increase. Gains were recorded in five of seven subsectors, representing 68% of wholesale sales.

In volume terms, wholesale sales were down 0.1%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Wholesale sales edge up in October - Description and data table
Wholesale sales edge up in October

Chart 1: Wholesale sales edge up in October - Description and data table

Higher sales in five subsectors

In October, the farm product subsector recorded the largest increase in dollar terms, rising 13.5% to $815 million, its highest level on record. The Raw Materials Price Index recorded a seasonally unadjusted gain of 24.6% in the price of live animals in October compared with the same month last year.

Sales rose 0.9% to $6.9 billion in the miscellaneous subsector, a third consecutive increase. The agricultural supplies industry (+5.8%) accounted for most of the subsector's gain.

Sales increased in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector for a third consecutive month, rising 0.4% to $11.7 billion. Gains in the construction, forestry, mining and industrial machinery, equipment and supplies industry (+3.1%) offset declines elsewhere in the subsector.

The building material and supplies subsector increased for a 10th consecutive month, rising 0.4% to $8.1 billion. The electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning equipment and supplies industry (+1.9%) led the gain, increasing for an eighth consecutive month to reach its highest level on record.

Sales decreased 1.2% in the personal and household goods subsector, led by an 8.1% decline in the toiletries, cosmetics and sundries industry.

Sales up in five provinces

In October, wholesale sales were up in five provinces, together representing 70% of total wholesale sales in Canada. Saskatchewan contributed the most to the gain.

Sales in Saskatchewan rose for a third consecutive month, increasing 5.4% to $2.2 billion on the strength of gains in the miscellaneous subsector.

Following two consecutive declines, sales in Manitoba rose 3.9% to $1.5 billion. The farm product subsector and the miscellaneous subsector led the gain.

Ontario recorded a seventh consecutive monthly increase, as sales edged up 0.2% to $26.5 billion in October. Several subsectors contributed to the gain, led by the building material and supplies subsector.

Quebec slipped to its second highest level on record in October as sales decreased 1.0% to $9.8 billion. The food, beverage and tobacco subsector contributed the most to the decline.

After two consecutive monthly gains, sales in Newfoundland and Labrador declined 6.1% to $468 million.

Inventories rise in October

Inventories recorded their 10th consecutive increase in October, up 1.2% to $68.2 billion. Gains were recorded in six of seven subsectors, with the sole decline in the miscellaneous subsector.

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

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

The largest gain in dollar terms was recorded in the building material and supplies subsector (+2.6%), a second consecutive increase.

Inventories grew for a third consecutive month in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector (+1.5%), while inventories in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector (+1.7%) rose for an eighth consecutive month.

The inventory-to-sales ratio rose from 1.25 in September to 1.26 in October. 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 October 2014 issue of Wholesale Trade (Catalogue number63-008-X) will soon be available.

Wholesale trade data for November 2014 will be released on January 21, 2015.

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 Elspeth Hazell (613-951-8090; elspeth.hazell@statcan.gc.ca), Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade Division.

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