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Quarterly Retail Commodity Survey

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Third quarter 2008 (Previous release)

The total sales of all commodities in retail stores in the third quarter amounted to $112.1 billion, up 5.1% over the third quarter of 2007.

All major commodity groupings posted year-over-year increases, except for motor vehicles, parts and services, where sales fell 3.9%.

The largest increase in the third quarter of 2008 was a 29.2% rise in sales of automotive fuels, oils and additives. This reflected a sharp increase in gasoline prices compared with the third quarter of 2007, according to the Consumer Price Index.

Automotive fuels accounted for 12 cents of every dollar spent in retail stores, the highest quarterly share since the beginning of the series in 1998.

The second largest year-over-year increase was a 6.3% rise in sales of furniture, home furnishings and electronics. The main contributor was sales of home electronics (such as televisions, audio and video equipment, and telephones), computers and cameras.

The decline in sales of motor vehicles, parts and services was mainly the result of a 12.1% drop in the value of sales of new trucks, which include light and heavy trucks, vans, minivans and sport utility vehicles. Sales of used vehicles also decreased, falling by 9.9%.

These declines were partially offset by a 2.3% increase in sales of new cars and an 8.9% advance in sales of automotive parts, accessories and services.

Note: The Quarterly Retail Commodity Survey collects data on national level retail sales by commodity, from a sub-sample of businesses in the Monthly Retail Trade Survey. Quarterly data have not been adjusted for seasonality. All percentage changes are year-over-year.

Available on CANSIM: tables 080-0018 and 080-0019.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 2008.

For more information, or to order data, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-877-421-3067; 613-951-3549; To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Ruth Barnes (613-951-6190), Distributive Trades Division.

Table 1
Sales by commodity, all retail stores