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Retail trade, November 2015

Released: 2016-01-22

Retail sales

$44.3 billion

November 2015


(monthly change)

Following flat sales in October, retail sales rose 1.7% in November to $44.3 billion. Higher sales at new car dealers were the main contributor to the gain. With the exception of gasoline stations, all subsectors showed an increase in sales, representing 90% of retail trade.

In volume terms, retail sales were up 1.5%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Retail sales up in November
Retail sales up in November

New car dealers lead gain

Motor vehicle and parts dealers (+3.5%) recorded the largest gain in dollar terms across all subsectors. Sales at new car dealers (+4.5%) were up for the fifth consecutive month. Gains throughout this period have been largely driven by higher sales of new trucks. Sales at other motor vehicle dealers (-1.8%) were down for the second month in a row. Lower sales were also reported at used car dealers (-1.0%) and automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (-0.6%).

Higher receipts at food and beverage stores (+1.5%) were mainly due to higher volumes, as food prices were unchanged in November. Gains were reported at supermarkets and other grocery stores (+1.7%). Sales at convenience stores (+1.8%) and beer, wine and liquor stores (+0.4%) did not offset the declines recorded in October. Specialty food stores sales (+1.5%) were up for the third consecutive month.

Store types traditionally associated with housing purchases and home renovation showed growth in November. Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+2.4%) and furniture and home furnishings stores (+0.4%) increased for the third time in four months. This was the largest gain in the building material and garden equipment and supplies subsector since mid-2014.

Amid lower gasoline prices and unseasonably warm weather, gasoline stations (-0.6%) recorded the lone decrease within the retail sector, with sales reaching their lowest level since January 2015.

Higher sales at stores associated with Black Friday

Store types associated with Black Friday promotions had higher sales in November, as receipts at clothing and clothing accessories stores (+2.2%) and electronics and appliance stores (+2.1%) were up. The timing of new product releases contributed to the 3.0% increase at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores.

Within the clothing and clothing accessories stores subsector, clothing stores (+2.8%) accounted for most of the gain. Higher sales at shoe stores (+0.6%) were more than offset by lower sales at jewellery, luggage and leather goods stores (-1.3%).

Sales up in all provinces

Retail sales were up in all provinces in November.

Ontario (+2.1%) reported the largest increase in dollar terms and its largest rise in 2015. Nearly half of the province's gain was attributable to higher sales at new car dealers.

Sales in Quebec (+1.4%) advanced for the sixth time in seven months, as a result of higher sales at new car dealers.

British Columbia (+1.8%) reported higher sales for the third time in four months, posting stronger sales across most store types.

Following two consecutive decreases, sales in Alberta advanced 1.4% in November. Despite the increase, sales in Alberta remained well below the levels observed prior to the decline in oil prices in late 2014.

Tables of unadjusted data by industry and by province and territory are now available from 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 trend-cycle data, 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 January 29, 2016. For more information, consult the document Real-time CANSIM tables.

Next release

Data on retail trade for December 2015 will be released on February 19, 2016.


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

Contact information

For more information, 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 Jason Aston (613-951-2606;, Retail and Service Industries Division.

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