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Quarterly Retail Commodity Survey, second quarter 2017

Released: 2017-10-16

Retail sales reached $155.1 billion in the second quarter, up 7.7% from the second quarter of 2016. Sales were up in 14 of the 16 commodity groupings.

Sales of motor vehicles grew 11.1%, accounting for one-third of the overall increase in retail sales. Higher sales of new motor vehicles (+16.1%) continued to drive the gains, with sales of new minivans, sport utility vehicles and light trucks accounting for the largest share. Sales of used automotive vehicles rose 1.1%.

Sales of automotive fuels and household fuels were up 8.2% compared with the second quarter of 2016. Gains were largely attributable to higher receipts of automotive fuels (+8.0%), reflecting price movements at the pump over this period.

Sales of food increased 7.8% year over year. The majority of the gain came from higher sales of fresh food (+7.9%) and packaged food and dry goods (+7.7%).

Hardware, lawn and garden product sales were up 9.3% in the second quarter. The largest contributor to the increase was renovation materials and supplies (+5.8%).

Receipts of home furniture, furnishings, housewares, appliances and electronics increased 8.0%, as a result of higher sales of home appliances and home electronics.

Receipts of sporting and leisure goods decreased 9.5% following lower sales of toys and games (-21.8%) and publications (-16.6%). Higher sales of sporting equipment (+2.2%) partially offset the decline.

Clothing sales fell 2.4% in the second quarter compared with the same quarter a year earlier. The largest contributors to the decline were men's clothing (-6.1%), followed by women's clothing (-2.8%).

  Note to readers

The Quarterly Retail Commodity Survey collects national level retail sales by commodity, from the same businesses as in the Monthly Retail Trade Survey. Quarterly data have not been adjusted for seasonality. All percentage changes are year over year.

Beginning with the first quarter of 2017, published data are based on an updated sample. The new level of estimates has led to time series revisions back to the first quarter of 2012. These revisions also incorporate 2016 annual revisions as well as some other historical revisions.

The quality rating of the series should be considered when making year-over-year comparisons of sales levels. Some of the year-over-year changes may reflect differences in the businesses selected in the old and new samples and/or the move to the North American Product Classification System in the third quarter of 2016. Estimates for major product groups are of higher quality than those for more specific products.

CANSIM table 080-0022 has been replaced by CANSIM table 080-0035.

Contact information

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