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Retail trade, August 2015

Released: 2015-10-22

Retail sales

$43.6 billion

August 2015

0.5% 

(monthly change)

Retail sales rose for the fourth consecutive month, advancing 0.5% to $43.6 billion in August. The increase was led by higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers. Excluding this subsector, retail sales were flat.

Sales increased in 4 of 11 subsectors, representing 56% of retail trade.

In volume terms, retail sales increased 0.7%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Retail sales up in August
Retail sales up in August

New car dealers lead gain

Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers increased for the seventh consecutive month, rising 2.0% in August. Sales at new car dealers increased 1.7%, reflecting a higher number of new trucks sold. These gains were concentrated in Quebec and Ontario. Used car dealers reported their 9th increase in 10 months, rising 5.5%. Higher sales were also reported at other motor vehicle dealers (+4.8%), which include retailers of recreational vehicles, motorcycles and boats.

Following relatively flat sales in June and July, sales at food and beverage stores increased 0.5% in August. The main contributors to the gain were beer, wine and liquor stores (+4.6%) and, to a lesser extent, convenience stores (+1.0%). After edging down in June and July, receipts at supermarkets and other grocery stores declined 0.4% in August. Lower sales were also reported by specialty food stores (-1.9%).

Furniture and home furnishings stores posted a 3.0% gain, following three months of relatively flat sales. Higher sales were reported by both furniture stores (+3.2%) and home furnishings stores (+2.6%).

Sales at gasoline stations (-0.6%) decreased for the second month in a row.

Miscellaneous store retailers reported a 2.3% sales decline, offsetting gains made in the previous two months. Stores in this subsector include used merchandise stores, office supplies and stationery stores, and pet and pet supplies stores.

Back-to-school sales

Store types traditionally associated with back-to-school sales registered mixed results in August, when sales may have been affected by later starts to the school year in some jurisdictions.

Higher sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores (+0.3%) were more than offset by lower sales at general merchandise stores (-0.3%), which posted their first decline in four months. Electronics and appliance stores (-0.3%) and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (-0.3%) also decreased.

Sales up in seven provinces

Retail sales rose in seven provinces in August. Quebec (+1.2%) reported the largest increase in dollar terms, largely as a result of higher sales at new and used car dealers. This was the sixth increase in seven months for the province.

Sales in British Columbia rose 1.4%, the third increase in four months. Gains were widespread across most store types.

Sales in Ontario edged up 0.2% in August, the seventh consecutive monthly increase. Higher sales at new car dealers were partially offset by lower sales at gasoline stations.

Following three months of flat sales, retailers in Saskatchewan reported a 0.8% increase in August.

Retailers in New Brunswick posted their seventh straight monthly sales gain, rising 0.5% in August. This increase was mainly a result of higher sales at new car dealers.

Sales in Nova Scotia declined 1.1%. This decrease did not offset the previous four months of sales gains.

After increasing 2.1% in July, sales in Manitoba edged down 0.2%.

Following four straight monthly gains, sales in Newfoundland and Labrador declined 0.3%.

It is possible to consult tables of unadjusted data by industry and by province and territory in the Summary tables 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 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.

For more information on the trend-cycle data reported in the chart, see the StatCan Blog and Trend-cycle estimates – Frequently asked questions.

Real-time CANSIM tables

Real-time CANSIM tables 080-8020 and 080-8024 will be updated on October 29. For more information, consult the document Real-time CANSIM tables.

Next release

Data on retail trade for September will be released on November 20.

Products

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

Contact information

For more information, or to order data, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@canada.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@canada.ca), Retail and Service Industries Division.

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