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Retail sales rose 1.9% in January to $33.7 billion after declining 5.2% in December, which was the largest monthly decline in more than 15 years. Sales rose in five of the eight retail sectors, led by a 3.8% increase in the automotive sector. In volume terms, retail sales rose 1.8%.
Since peaking in September 2008, the monthly level of retail sales in current dollars has fallen by about 7%. The main contributors to this shift in level were lower unit sales of new motor vehicles and reduced gasoline prices.
The main contributor to the increase in the automotive sector in January was a 6.4% rise in the value of sales at new car dealers, following a 15.1% decline in December. January's gain reflects a higher number of new motor vehicles sold, according to the New Motor Vehicles Sales Survey. Sales at gasoline stations rose 2.6%, while used and recreational motor vehicle and parts dealers registered a 1.8% decline.
The two sectors where January's increases more than offset December's declines were food and beverage stores (+2.1%) and pharmacies and personal care stores (+2.0%). These stores mainly sell products (such as food and prescription drugs) whose consumption is less discretionary than other goods sold by retailers such as automobiles and furniture.
Two sectors registered sales declines in January. Sales at building and home supplies stores fell 1.4%, reflecting in part a continued slump in the housing market. Sales at furniture, home furnishings and electronics stores were down 0.7%.
Total retail sales by volume are measured by deflating values in current dollars of the various trade groups using consumer price indexes. This retail sales in chained dollars series (2002) is a chain Fisher volume index with 2002 as the reference year.
After declining in every province in November and December, sales rose in all provinces in January except for a 0.6% decrease in Manitoba. None of the increases offset the declines in December.
British Columbia (+3.1%) posted the largest gain, closely followed by Ontario (+3.0%) and Saskatchewan (+2.9%).
|January 2008||October 2008r||November 2008r||December 2008r||January 2009p||December 2008 to January 2009||January 2008 to January 2009|
|$ millions||% change|
|New car dealers||6,635||6,071||5,867||4,982||5,299||6.4||-20.1|
|Used and recreational motor vehicle and parts dealers||1,694||1,658||1,648||1,569||1,540||-1.8||-9.1|
|Furniture, home furnishings and electronics stores||2,587||2,541||2,520||2,452||2,435||-0.7||-5.9|
|Home furnishings stores||524||495||476||451||449||-0.5||-14.3|
|Computer and software stores||117||116||110||101||104||3.7||-10.7|
|Home electronics and appliance stores||1,083||1,105||1,108||1,097||1,086||-1.0||0.3|
|Building and outdoor home supplies stores||2,265||2,253||2,253||2,129||2,100||-1.4||-7.3|
|Home centres and hardware stores||1,832||1,832||1,842||1,718||1,686||-1.9||-8.0|
|Specialized building materials and garden stores||433||421||411||411||414||0.7||-4.4|
|Food and beverage stores||7,806||8,106||8,163||8,063||8,233||2.1||5.5|
|Convenience and specialty food stores||839||840||848||841||849||0.8||1.1|
|Beer, wine and liquor stores||1,377||1,387||1,413||1,365||1,402||2.7||1.8|
|Pharmacies and personal care stores||2,413||2,466||2,460||2,423||2,472||2.0||2.5|
|Clothing and accessories stores||2,028||1,977||1,975||1,902||1,959||3.0||-3.4|
|Shoe, clothing accessories and jewellery stores||468||465||456||436||453||3.8||-3.2|
|General merchandise stores||4,176||4,356||4,341||4,320||4,322||0.0||3.5|
|Sporting goods, hobby, music and book stores||888||882||895||894||901||0.9||1.5|
|Miscellaneous store retailers||910||925||920||883||902||2.1||-0.9|
|Total retail sales||35,728||35,594||34,828||33,031||33,666||1.9||-5.8|
|Total excluding new car dealers, used and recreational motor vehicle and parts dealers||27,399||27,866||27,313||26,479||26,827||1.3||-2.1|
|Provinces and territories|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||586||613||590||565||571||1.0||-2.7|
|Prince Edward Island||142||145||142||135||138||2.2||-2.7|
For information on related indicators, refer to the Latest statistics page on our website.
Available on CANSIM: tables 080-0014 to 080-0017.
The January 2009 issue of Retail Trade (63-005-XWE, free) will be available shortly.
Data on retail trade for February will be released on April 23.
For more information, or to order data, contact Client Services (613-951-3549; toll-free 1-877-421-3067; email@example.com). For analytical information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Serge Grenier (613-951-3566), Distributive Trades Division.