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Retail trade, February 2015

Released: 2015-04-17

Following two consecutive monthly declines, retail sales rose 1.7% in February to $42.2 billion. Gains were widespread as all 11 retail subsectors reported higher sales. Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers rose after four consecutive declines, while sales at gasoline stations rose for the first time since June 2014.

In volume terms, sales rose 1.3%.

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

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

A 5.6% increase at general merchandise stores accounted for the largest sales gain in dollar terms among all subsectors. Higher sales were reported at other general merchandise stores (+8.4%) and at department stores (+1.9%).

Following seven consecutive monthly declines, sales at gasoline stations increased 2.2% in February.

Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers increased 0.9% in February. Following four straight monthly declines, sales at new car dealers rose 0.4%. Automotive parts, accessories and tire stores reported a 4.1% gain, the second consecutive monthly increase. Other motor vehicle dealers (+3.8%) and used car dealers (+1.1%) also reported gains in February.

Following declines in December and January, sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores increased 8.4% in February, reflecting higher sales at sporting goods stores.

Food and beverage stores (+0.6%) reported their fifth sales gain in six months. This increase reflected higher sales at beer, wine and liquor stores (+2.1%) and specialty food stores (+4.1%). Sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores edged up 0.1%.

Receipts at electronics and appliance stores increased 1.9%, the second consecutive monthly gain.

Furniture and home furnishings store sales rose 1.7% in February, but did not offset the sales declines in December and January.

Sales up in seven provinces

Retail sales increased in seven provinces in February. Higher sales in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec accounted for most of the gain.

British Columbia (+5.9%) reported the largest increase in dollar terms, with widespread gains across most store types.

Following two consecutive monthly sales declines, Ontario (+1.1%) and Quebec (+1.3%) reported gains on the strength of higher sales at general merchandise stores.

Alberta (+1.5%) and Saskatchewan (+1.2%) reported higher sales in February, following four straight monthly sales declines.

Nova Scotia (-1.7%) reported its seventh consecutive monthly sales decrease. Lower sales at new car dealers was the main contributor to the decline.

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.

With this release, unadjusted monthly data were revised back to January 2014, while seasonally adjusted data were revised back to January 2011. Factors influencing revisions include late receipt of respondent information, correction of information in the data provided, the replacement of estimated figures with actual values (once available), the re-classification of companies within, into and out of the retail trade industry and updates to seasonal factors.

Data in volume terms have also been revised back to January 2011.

The February 2015 issue of Retail Trade (Catalogue number63-005-X) will soon be available.

Data on retail trade for March will be released on May 22.

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 Jason Aston (613-951-0746; jason.aston@statcan.gc.ca), Retail and Service Industries Division.

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