Retail trade, June 2012

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Retail sales declined 0.4% to $38.7 billion in June, more than offsetting the gain in May. Lower sales were reported in 7 of 11 subsectors, representing 64% of retail trade.

In volume terms, retail sales edged down 0.1%.

Chart 1 
Retail sales decrease in June
Chart 1: Retail sales decrease in June

Chart description: Retail sales decrease in June

CSV version of the chart

General merchandise store receipts fell 1.5% in June. Store closures contributed to lower sales at department stores (-2.6%). Sales at other general merchandise stores declined 0.6%.

Gasoline station sales decreased 1.3%, reflecting lower prices at the pump. This was the sixth decrease in eight months.

Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers reported a 2.1% sales decline. Lower receipts in recent months may reflect in part an advance of spring sales for this store type in February and March.

Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers decreased 0.4%. After peaking in January 2012, sales in this subsector have been on a downward trend. Lower receipts at new car dealers (-0.6%) and at other motor vehicle dealers (-1.3%) accounted for the June decline. Gains were reported by used car dealers (+1.8%) and automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (+0.4%).

Furniture and home furnishing stores (-0.5%) reported a fifth sales decrease in six months. Home furnishing stores declined 1.8% in June and have been on a downward trend since the beginning of 2012. Sales at furniture stores increased 0.3%.

Food and beverage store receipts rose 0.5%. Higher sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores (+1.0%) accounted for most of the increase.

Following declines in April and May, sales at electronics and appliance stores rose 1.1% in June.

Sales decrease most in Alberta

Retail sales fell in six provinces in June. Alberta (-1.3%) reported the largest decline in dollar terms after posting the largest increase in May. Lower sales of new motor vehicles were the main reason for the June decrease.

Sales in British Columbia declined 1.0% in June, after relatively flat sales the previous three months.

Ontario retailers registered a 0.3% decrease in sales, largely offsetting May's gain.

Sales in Nova Scotia (-3.4%) declined for the third time in four months.

After three consecutive monthly declines, Quebec reported a 0.7% increase.

Note to readers

All the data in this release are seasonally adjusted and in current dollars, unless otherwise noted. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonal adjustment and identifying economic trends.

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.

Starting with the next release, total retail sales published in volume, including the chain Fisher volume index, will be revised from January 2004 onward to reflect methodological enhancements. In addition, the reference year will change from 2002 to 2007 for these volume data.

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 without charge in CANSIM: tables CANSIM table080-0020 and CANSIM table080-0021.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey numbers survey number2406 and survey number2408.

The June 2012 issue of Retail Trade (Catalogue number63-005-X, free) will soon be available.

Data on retail trade for July will be released on September 25.

For more information or to order data, contact Statistics Canada's National Contact Centre (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 613-951-8116;

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.