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Retail trade, September 2014

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Released: 2014-11-25

Retail sales rose 0.8% in September to $42.8 billion, largely as a result of higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers. Retail sales have been on an upward swing since early 2014.

Gains were reported in 5 of 11 subsectors, representing 59% of retail trade. Excluding motor vehicle and parts dealers, sales were essentially unchanged from August.

After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms increased 1.0%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Retail sales increase in September - Description and data table
Retail sales increase in September

Chart 1: Retail sales increase in September - Description and data table

Higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers dominate

The 3.4% increase at motor vehicle and parts dealers was the largest sales gain among all subsectors. Sales were up 3.3% at new car dealers, on the strength of higher volumes of sales of light trucks. Other motor vehicle dealers, which include retailers of recreational vehicles, motorcycles and boats, continued their recovery from a downturn in early 2014 with a 6.8% increase. Following three consecutive monthly decreases, sales at used car dealers increased 4.4% in September. Higher sales were also reported at automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (+1.1%).

Higher sales were reported at food and beverage stores (+0.7%) for the first time in three months in September. This gain mainly reflected higher sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores (+0.7%) and, to a lesser extent, beer, wine and liquor stores (+1.3%). Specialty food stores (+0.4%) posted their first increase in five months. Convenience store sales edged down 0.2%.

Receipts at furniture and home furnishings stores (+1.3%) rose for the second time in three months, in large part because of higher sales at home furnishings stores (+5.1%).

Sales at electronics and appliance stores (+1.2%) advanced for the fourth consecutive month, marking the second time since mid-2010 that sales in this subsector have posted four consecutive gains.

Receipts at general merchandise stores (-0.6%) and clothing and clothing accessories stores (-0.9%) declined in September. Decreases in these store types traditionally associated with back-to-school did not offset the gains in August.

Sales at gasoline stations declined 0.2% in September, mainly reflecting lower prices at the pump. September's decline was the third consecutive monthly decrease.

Lower sales were reported for the second consecutive month at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (-0.5%). This followed four months of growth.

Sales up in eight provinces

Retail sales were up in eight provinces in September. Higher sales in Ontario (+1.0%), Alberta (+1.0%) and Quebec (+0.7%) accounted for most of the increase. Gains in these provinces reflected higher sales at new car dealers.

Retailers in British Columbia reported a 0.5% gain in September, the third increase in four months.

Retail sales advanced for the fifth time in six months in Manitoba (+1.2%), with widespread gains across most store types.

Sales in New Brunswick (+0.6%) rose for the sixth consecutive month.

After peaking in June, sales in Prince Edward Island (-1.1%) declined for the third month in a row.

It is possible to consult tables of unadjusted data by industry and by province and territory in 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 data in this release are seasonally adjusted and in current dollars, unless otherwise noted. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

Total retail sales expressed in volume are calculated by deflating current dollar values using consumer price indexes. The retail sales series in chained (2007) dollars is a chained Fisher volume index with 2007 as the reference year. For more information, see Calculation of Volume of Retail Trade Sales.

The September 2014 issue of Retail Trade (Catalogue number63-005-X) will soon be available.

Data on retail trade for October will be released on December 19.

Contact information

For more information, or to order data, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

For analytical information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Jason Aston (613-951-0746;, Retail and Service Industries Division.

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