Wholesale trade, February 2013
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Wholesale sales were unchanged at $48.8 billion in February, after rising 0.5% in January.
In February, there were decreases in five of the seven subsectors, especially machinery, equipment and supplies. These declines were mostly offset by higher sales in the motor vehicle and parts subsector.
The volume of wholesale sales was stable in February.
The computer and communications equipment and supplies industry records the largest decline in sales
In February, the largest decrease in dollar terms was reported by wholesalers in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector. Sales in this subsector fell 2.1% as a result of an 8.2% decline in sales of the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry, which posted a strong gain in January.
The second-largest decrease was in the personal and household goods subsector (-1.5%). This subsector's sales have been relatively stable since the end of 2011. Several industries were responsible for February's decline, notably the toiletries, cosmetics and sundries industry and the pharmaceuticals and pharmacy supplies industry.
The largest advance in dollar terms was in the motor vehicle and parts subsector (+3.0%). All three industries in the subsector reported higher sales in February.
Sales were up 2.1% in the miscellaneous products subsector, its second consecutive monthly increase. The five industries in the subsector reported higher sales in February.
Sales down in Ontario
Wholesalers in seven provinces reported increases in sales in February. These gains were largely offset by the 1.1% decline in sales in Ontario. Sales in the province accounted for almost half of total sales.
Ontario's decline was mainly attributable to lower sales in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector and the personal and household goods subsector.
Sales were up 0.3% in Quebec, a second straight advance. These advances followed a downward trend during the second half of 2012.
The four western provinces posted increases. Alberta (+2.0%) had the largest gain in dollar terms, in part a result of higher sales in the farm, lawn and garden machinery and equipment industry.
Increase in inventories
Wholesale inventories rose 0.6% to $61.6 billion in February. Inventories were up in five of the seven subsectors.
The largest increases in dollar terms were in the inventories of the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector (+1.2%) and the motor vehicle and parts subsector (+1.6%).
In the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector, inventories increased in three of the four industries. The computer and communications equipment and supplies industry reported lower inventories, down 3.5%.
The inventory-to-sales ratio was unchanged at 1.26 in February.
The inventory-to-sales ratio is a measure of the time in months required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level.
Note to readers
All 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 wholesale sales expressed in volume are calculated by deflating current dollar values using relevant price indexes. The wholesale sales series in chained (2007) dollars is a chained Fisher volume index with 2007 as the reference year. For more information, see Sales in volume for Wholesale Trade.
With this release, wholesale trade data are based on the 2012 North American Industry Classification System. Unadjusted and seasonally adjusted monthly data were revised back to January 2004. Factors influencing revisions include late receipt of respondent information, correction of information in the data provided, the replacement of estimated figures with actual values (once available), the reclassification of companies within, into and out of the wholesale trade industry, and updates to seasonal factors.
Data in volume terms have also been revised back to January 2004.
The February 2013 issue of Wholesale Trade (Catalogue number63-008-X) will soon be available.
Wholesale trade data for March will be released on May 17.
For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; firstname.lastname@example.org) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; email@example.com).