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Retail Services Price Index, second quarter 2017

Released: 2017-11-21

The Retail Services Price Index (RSPI) edged up 0.2% in the second quarter, following a 1.3% increase in the first quarter. The growth was mainly attributable to higher margins at gasoline stations.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Retail Services Price Index
Retail Services Price Index

Margins were up in 5 of the 10 major retail subsectors, representing 46% of the retail sector surveyed.

Margins at gasoline stations increased 5.8%, mainly as a result of higher selling prices for fuel products such as motor gasoline. According to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), on a monthly basis, gasoline prices rose 9.5% in April, partly due to supply disruptions at oil refineries as they changed over to summer fuel blends.

Health and personal care stores (+0.9%) margins rose as retailers reported fewer discounts and promotions, resulting in higher selling prices. Margins increased in all industries in this subsector.

Retailers at electronics and appliance stores (+1.9%), general merchandise stores (+0.6%) and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+0.3%) also posted margin increases.

Moderating the growth of the RSPI, clothing and clothing accessories stores (-2.2%) posted the largest margin decline, which was concentrated at clothing stores and shoe stores. Margins decreased as vendor prices rose faster than selling prices.

Year-over-year change

The RSPI increased 0.4% in the second quarter compared with same quarter of 2016, with retailers in 6 of the 10 major retail subsectors posting gains.

Retailers at gasoline stations (+6.2%) recorded the largest year-over-year margin gain, as a result of higher prices at the pump. This was the largest year-over-year increase since the first quarter of 2015.

Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+4.3%), health and personal care stores (+4.0%), and miscellaneous store retailers (+4.1%) also reported sustained year-over-year margin gains.

Lower margins at food and beverage stores (-3.7%) continued to moderate the year-over-year rise of the RSPI. Retailers reported reduced margins in the wake of lower prices for various food staples. According to the CPI, the prices of food purchased from stores fell 1.3% in the second quarter compared with the same quarter of 2016.

Retailers at furniture and home furnishing stores (-2.8%) and general merchandise stores (-1.8%) also reported continued year-over-year margin declines.

  Note to readers

The Retail Services Price Index (RSPI) represents the change in the price of the retail service. The price of the retail service is defined as the margin price, which is the difference between the average purchase price and the average selling price of the retail product being priced. The RSPI is not a retail selling price index.

The indexes are not seasonally adjusted. Data are available at the Canada level only.

A Historical Timeline of Canadian Producer Price Statistics

To celebrate Canada 150, A Historical Timeline of Canadian Producer Price Statistics, which is part of Statistics Canada — Infographics (Catalogue number11-627-M), was created to showcase the key milestones in the history of Canadian producer price statistics. This historical timeline contains answers to questions such as: Who collected Canada's first statistics? What do Canadian producer price indexes measure?

Infographic: Producer Price Indexes at a Glance

The infographic "Producer Price Indexes at a Glance," which is part of Statistics Canada — Infographics (Catalogue number11-627-M), demonstrates how producer price indexes for goods and services are calculated and why they are important for the Canadian economy.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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