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Wholesale sales rose by 1.5% in January to $46.7 billion, mainly as a result of higher sales in the motor vehicle and parts and the miscellaneous subsectors.
In volume terms, wholesale sales were up 1.6% in January.
Widespread gains in wholesale sales
Wholesale sales increased for the sixth consecutive month in January, with five of the seven subsectors advancing, representing nearly 80% of total wholesale sales.
The motor vehicle and parts subsector (+4.9%) posted the largest increase. Sales in that subsector rose to $7.9 billion in January, the highest level since June 2007.
The advance in the motor vehicle and parts subsector in January was entirely a result of the 7.0% sales increase among motor vehicle wholesalers.
Sales in the miscellaneous subsector rose for the eighth month in a row, increasing by 3.7% in January, mainly as a result of higher sales in the recyclable material and other miscellaneous industries.
The building material and supplies subsector increased by 2.6%, stimulated by higher sales in the lumber, millwork, hardware and other building supplies industry.
Note to readers
All the data in this release are seasonally adjusted and in current dollars, unless otherwise noted.
Wholesale sales expressed in volume are calculated by deflating current dollar values using import and industry product price indexes. Since many of the goods sold by wholesalers are imported, fluctuations in the value of the Canadian dollar can have an important influence on the prices of goods bought and sold by wholesalers.
The wholesale sales series in chained (2002) dollars is a chained Fisher volume index with 2002 as the reference year.
The machinery, equipment and supplies and the farm products subsectors posted the only declines in January.
The machinery, equipment and supplies subsector decreased by 2.0% in January, primarily as a result of lower sales in the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry. This drop followed strong sales gains in 2010.
Sales up in most provinces
Sales were up in seven provinces in January. Ontario contributed the most to the national increase, followed by Quebec and British Columbia.
Wholesale sales in Ontario rose by 1.5% to $23.7 billion in January, mainly as a result of increased sales of motor vehicles.
In Quebec, wholesale sales rose by 2.2% in January, the third consecutive increase after a period of four months when sales remained virtually unchanged.
Sales increased in British Columbia by 2.8% in January, following a 0.2% increase in December.
In Alberta, sales were down as a result of lower sales of machinery, equipment and supplies. Wholesale sales in the province declined 0.8% to $5.5 billion in January.
Inventories rose by 1.8% in January to $53.7 billion. This was the largest monthly increase since January 2007.
Overall, 18 of the 25 industries registered an increase in their inventories.
The largest advance (in dollars) was in the inventories of the other miscellaneous industry (+10.2%), followed by the lumber, millwork, hardware and other building supplies industry (+2.7%).
The inventory-to-sales ratio remained unchanged at 1.15 in January.
The inventory-to-sales ratio is a measure of the time in months required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level.
Available on CANSIM: tables 081-0011 to 081-0013.
Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 2401.
The January 2011 issue of Wholesale Trade (63-008-X, free) will soon be available.
Wholesale trade data for February will be released on April 19.
To obtain data, or for more information, contact Client Services (613-951-3549; toll-free 1-877-421-3067; email@example.com). To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Karim El hassani (613-951-0608; firstname.lastname@example.org), Distributive Trades Division.
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