Retail trade

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July 2011 (Previous release)

Retail sales declined 0.6% to $37.5 billion in July, after increasing the previous three months. Lower sales were reported in 7 of 11 subsectors, with motor vehicle and parts dealers accounting for most of the decline. Excluding motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales were flat.

In volume terms, retail sales decreased 0.9%.

Retail sales decline in July

Retail sales decline in July

Chart description: Retail sales decline in July

Lower sales at new car dealers accounted for the decline at motor vehicle and parts dealers. The 3.5% drop in sales at new car dealers offset gains made in June. Declines at used car dealers (-2.0%) and automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (-0.4%) were offset by a fourth consecutive monthly gain in the "other motor vehicle dealers" (+2.3%) category.

Furniture and home furnishings stores registered a third consecutive decrease, falling 2.2%. Lower sales at furniture stores (-2.9%) were the main contributor to this decline.

Sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores decreased 2.3% in July, more than offsetting gains made in the previous two months.

Following June's decline, which was the second in 12 months, sales at gasoline stations in July were essentially unchanged.

Food and beverage store sales rose 0.5%, a second consecutive monthly increase. This gain came mainly from higher sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores (+0.9%).

General merchandise store sales advanced 0.8%, the sixth increase in seven months. The category of "other general merchandise stores" led the gain, rising 1.9%. Following four consecutive monthly increases, department store sales declined 0.6%.

Sales down in most provinces

Retail sales fell in eight provinces in July.

Ontario reported the largest decrease in dollar terms, with sales down 0.7%. This followed three consecutive monthly gains. Lower sales of new motor vehicles were the major reason for this drop.

Sales in Alberta (-1.2%) declined for a second consecutive month.

After a 1.7% rise in June, sales in Québec edged down 0.1% in July.

Nova Scotia retailers registered a fifth consecutive monthly sales increase with a rise of 1.2%. It was the only province where the number of new motor vehicles sold rose in July.

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.

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.

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

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

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

Data on retail trade for August will be released on October 25.

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 Ashley Ker (613-951-2252), Distributive Trades Division.