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Retail trade, October 2014

Released: 2014-12-19

Retail sales were relatively unchanged in October, holding at $42.8 billion. Lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations offset higher sales in most other subsectors.

Gains were reported in 6 of 11 subsectors, representing 42% of retail trade.

After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms were relatively unchanged.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Retail sales relatively unchanged in October - Description and data table
Retail sales relatively unchanged in October

Chart 1: Retail sales relatively unchanged in October - Description and data table

Total sales relatively unchanged

Following two months of declines, building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+2.0%) registered the largest increase among all subsectors.

Sales at electronics and appliance stores (+3.2%) advanced for the fifth consecutive month for the first time since mid-2008. Sales in this subsector have been trending upwards since early 2014 on the strength of new product releases.

Higher receipts were reported for the second consecutive month at food and beverage stores, up 0.5% in October. This gain mainly reflected higher sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores (+1.0%), which more than offset declines at beer, wine and liquor stores (-0.8%) and convenience stores (-1.4%). Sales at specialty food stores (-0.3%) declined for the fifth time in six months.

Following a 3.4% increase in September, receipts at motor vehicle and parts dealers decreased 0.6% in October. Lower sales at new car dealers (-0.6%) accounted for most of this decline. Used car dealers reported their fourth decline in five months, falling 1.8% in October. Sales at other motor vehicle dealers (-1.0%) were lower for the first time in three months. Higher sales were reported at automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (+1.0%).

Sales at gasoline stations declined 1.1% in October, the fourth consecutive monthly decrease.

Receipts at furniture and home furnishings stores declined 2.6%. Home furnishings stores were down 4.2% following a 5.0% increase in September, while sales at furniture stores decreased 1.6%.

General merchandise store sales were down 0.4% in October, as department stores (-0.7%) and other general merchandise stores (-0.2%) declined for the third time in four months.

Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores declined 0.6% in October. Lower sales were reported at clothing stores (-0.8%) and shoe stores (-0.5%), while jewellery, luggage and leather goods stores advanced 1.0%.

Sales down in nine provinces

Retail sales were down in nine provinces in October.

Sales in Quebec decreased 0.5%, largely as a result of lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers.

Retail sales in the Prairie provinces were down for the second time in three months. Lower sales at new car dealers accounted for most of the decline in Manitoba (-0.6%) and Saskatchewan (-0.3%). In Alberta, sales were relatively unchanged from September.

Receipts were down in Nova Scotia (-0.4%) for the third month in a row.

In British Columbia (-0.1%), lower retail sales at gasoline stations offset gains at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers.

The only province to register higher sales was Ontario (+0.5%), rising for the sixth time in seven 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 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 October 2014 issue of Retail Trade (Catalogue number63-005-X) will soon be available.

Data on retail trade for November 2014 will be released on January 23, 2015.

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 Matthew Briggs (613-951-4761;, Retail and Service Industries Division.

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