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Quarterly Retail Commodity Survey

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First quarter 2010 (Previous release)

Retail commodity sales in the first quarter amounted to $94.2 billion, up 7.5% compared with the first quarter of 2009. Nearly all major commodity groupings sold in retail stores recorded year-over-year sales increases in the first quarter.

The strongest year-over-year increase occurred in sales of automotive fuels, oils and additives, which rose 21.0% to $9.7 billion. Between the first quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, the price of gasoline rose 18.7%, according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The value of sales of motor vehicles, parts and services increased 15.7% in the first quarter, led by a 26.8% rise in the value of sales of new automotive vehicles. Within this category, the value of sales of new trucks (which include minivans, sport-utility vehicles, light and heavy trucks, vans and buses) increased 35.0%, while the value of sales of new cars rose 15.8%. Sales also rose for used automotive vehicles (+11.2%), and automotive parts and accessories (+1.7%).

Sales of hardware, lawn and garden products at retail stores rose 15.9%, mainly due to an 18.8% sales advance of hardware and home renovation products. January 31, 2010, was the final day of the federal government's Home Renovation Tax Credit.

Sales of clothing, footwear and accessories increased 9.5% in the first quarter compared with the same quarter a year earlier. This sales increase occurred during a period of unseasonably warm temperatures across Canada and during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. Sales of men's clothing rose at a faster pace than those of women's clothing.

Sales of food and beverages increased 2.2% in the first quarter. At the same time, prices for food purchased from stores increased 0.7% according to the CPI.

The only major commodity grouping with lower sales in the first quarter was the all other goods and services category (composed of goods such as tobacco products and supplies, recreational vehicles and stationery, office supplies, cards, gift wrap and party supplies), which declined 3.8%.

Note: The Quarterly Retail Commodity Survey collects 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.

Beginning with this quarter, published data are based on an updated sample. The new level of estimates has led to a time series revision back to the first quarter of 2004. These revisions also incorporate 2009 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 characteristics of businesses selected in the old and new samples. Estimates for major commodity groups are of higher quality than those for more specific commodities.

The old tables 080-0018 and 080-0019 have been replaced by CANSIM table 080-0022. In order to allow users to adapt to these new series, access to the new CANSIM table will be free until September 30, 2010.

Available on CANSIM: table 080-0022.

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 Abdulelah Mohammed (613-951-7719), Distributive Trades Division.

Table 1

Sales by commodity, all retail stores
  First quarter 2009r Fourth quarter 2009r First quarter 2010p First quarter 2009 to first quarter 2010
  $ millions % change
Food and beverages 22,775 25,997 23,272 2.2
Health and personal care products 9,207 10,360 9,560 3.8
Clothing, footwear and accessories 6,367 10,768 6,973 9.5
Furniture, home furnishings and electronics 8,103 11,722 8,403 3.7
Motor vehicles, parts and services 16,275 19,988 18,827 15.7
Automotive fuels, oils and additives 8,038 9,804 9,728 21.0
Housewares 1,718 2,209 1,761 2.5
Hardware, lawn and garden products 4,816 6,986 5,582 15.9
Sporting and leisure goods 2,819 4,742 2,861 1.5
All other goods and services 7,484 9,087 7,202 -3.8
Total 87,600 111,661 94,169 7.5
Figures may not add up to total due to rounding.