Retail trade

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October 2011 (Previous release)

Retail sales rose 1.0% to $38.6 billion in October, a third consecutive monthly increase. Gains were reported in 7 of 11 subsectors, representing 76% of retail sales. The increase was led by higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations.

In volume terms, sales were also up for a third month in a row, rising 0.6% in October.

Retail sales increase in October

Retail sales increase in October

Chart description: Retail sales increase in October

Motor vehicle and parts dealers saw a 2.0% increase in sales in October. This gain was mainly accounted for by higher sales at new car dealers (+2.4%), which rose for a third straight month. Sales increases were also reported in the "other motor vehicle dealers" industry (+2.4%) and at automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (+1.6%). Used car dealers reported a 2.9% decline.

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.

Gasoline station sales rose 1.8%, mainly reflecting higher prices at the pump. Sales in this subsector have been on an upward trend since the middle of 2010.

Sales at food and beverage stores increased for a fifth consecutive month, rising 0.6% in October. Gains were reported by all store types in this subsector.

Clothing and clothing accessories stores sales went up 1.9%. The largest contributor to the increase was clothing stores (+1.6%). Jewellery, luggage and leather store sales rose 3.5%, continuing a strong upward trend that began in spring 2011.

Sales advanced 1.7% at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores. Sales at these stores have grown 5.0% since July.

General merchandise store sales, which account for 12% of total retail sales, decreased 0.5%.

Sales at furniture and home furnishings stores decreased for a second consecutive month, declining 0.8% in October. Lower sales at furniture stores (-1.5%) were partially offset by a 0.3% gain in sales at home furnishings stores.

Highest growth in Western provinces

Retail sales rose in eight provinces in October, with the Western provinces reporting the highest growth.

Alberta (+3.0%) registered the largest sales gain, in part reflecting strong sales of new motor vehicles.

Sales in British Columbia rose 1.7% in October following an upward trend that started at the end of 2010.

Sales in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan rose 1.9%.

After two consecutive monthly gains, sales in Ontario edged down 0.1% in October.

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

Data on retail trade for November will be released on January 24, 2012.

For more information, or to order data, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-877-421-3067; 613-951-3549; For analytical information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Jake W. Purdy (613-951-0984), Distributive Trades Division.