Retail trade

Warning View the most recent version.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please "contact us" to request a format other than those available.

Related subjects

    [an error occurred while processing this directive]
May 2011 (Previous release)

Retail sales edged up 0.1% in May to $37.5 billion. Higher sales in 7 of 11 subsectors were mostly offset by declines at motor vehicle and parts dealers and at food and beverage stores.

In volume terms, sales were unchanged.

Retail sales edge up in May

Chart description: Retail sales edge up in May

Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+3.3%) registered the largest increase in sales, partially offsetting the declines observed in March and April. More favourable weather conditions stimulated sales of hardware and lawn and garden products.

These same conditions also pushed up sales at general merchandise stores (+0.8%), which posted their fourth increase in five months. The category of "other general merchandise stores" led the gain, rising 1.3%. Department store sales increased 0.4%, a third consecutive monthly increase.

Gasoline station sales increased 1.1% in May, a fourth consecutive increase. This was the highest sales level since July 2008.

Sporting goods, hobby, book and music store sales rose 1.3%, the first significant increase since November 2010. In particular, sales were strong at sporting good stores.

After two consecutive monthly gains, sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers fell 1.0% in May. Lower sales at new car dealers (-1.1%) led the decline. Sales decreases were also reported at used car dealers (-1.9%) and automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (-0.6%). Sales in the category of "other motor vehicle dealers" rose 1.0% following a large increase in April.

Note to readers

All the data in this release are seasonally adjusted and in current dollars, unless otherwise noted.

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.

Food and beverage store sales fell 0.9%, the third monthly decrease in a row. Supermarkets and other grocery stores (-1.5%) accounted for most of the decline.

Sales up in six provinces

Results were mixed in May at the provincial level as higher sales were reported in six provinces. The largest sales gain in dollar terms occurred in Ontario where sales rose 0.5%, the third increase in four months.

Following two consecutive monthly declines, sales in Manitoba increased 1.5%.

British Columbia retailers registered a 0.7% sales decline, after increasing for three months in a row.

Sales declined 1.0% in Nova Scotia following gains in March and April.

It is possible to consult the tables of unadjusted data by industry and by province and territory from the Tables by subject module of our website.

For information on related indicators, refer to the Latest statistics page on our website.

Available on CANSIM: tables 080-0020 and 080-0021.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey numbers, including related surveys, 2406 and 2408.

The May 2011 issue of Retail Trade (63-005-X, free) will be available shortly.

Data on retail trade for June will be released on August 23.

For more information, or to order data, contact Client Services (613-951-3549; toll-free 1-877-421-3067; For analytical information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Mark Switzer (613-951-7137), Distributive Trades Division.