Retail trade

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September 2011 (Previous release)

Retail sales rose 1.0% to $38.2 billion in September, reflecting growth at most store types. This marks the fifth increase in six months and was the largest advance since November 2010.

In volume terms, sales rose 0.6%.

Retail sales increase in September

Retail sales increase in September

Chart description: Retail sales increase in September

Gains were reported in 9 of 11 subsectors, representing 90% of retail sales.

Motor vehicle and parts dealers (+2.8%) registered the largest increase in sales. New car dealers (+3.7%) accounted for most of the gain, mainly reflecting higher sales of new trucks. Increased sales were also reported at used car dealers (+3.5%) and automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (+0.2%). Sales in the "other motor vehicle dealers" industry fell 4.0%, following five consecutive monthly gains.

Higher prices contributed to a third consecutive monthly increase in sales at gasoline stations, up 0.8% in September.

General merchandise store sales advanced 0.7%, the eighth increase in nine months. Sales gains in the "other general merchandise stores" (+1.4%) industry were partially offset by declines at department stores (-0.2%).

Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores rose 1.0%, more than offsetting the decline in August. Sales at this store type have been trending upwards for the past two years. This rise reflects, in part, an increased concentration of clothing sales in this sub-sector.

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.

Electronics and appliance stores reported a sales gain of 1.2%, following three monthly decreases.

Health and personal care store sales declined 0.4% in September. Sales in this subsector have been on a downward trend since the beginning of 2011. Prescription drugs represent over half of the sales of this store type. Consumer prices for prescription drugs have declined, reflecting changes in the regulations for generic prescription drugs enacted in a number of provinces and the expiry of some drug patents.

Sales up in all provinces

Retail sales increased in all provinces in September. The two largest contributors were Ontario (+1.0%) and Alberta (+1.6%). This was the second consecutive monthly increase in both provinces.

After a decline in July and flat sales in August, retail sales in Quebec rose 0.7% in September.

Nova Scotia (+2.4%) reported the largest percentage sales increase.

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

Data on retail trade for October will be released on December 21.

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.