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Retail trade, October 2015

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Released: 2015-12-23

Retail sales

$43.4 billion

October 2015


(monthly change)

Retail sales edged up 0.1% in October to $43.4 billion. Sales were up in 7 of 11 subsectors, representing 59% of retail trade.

After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms declined 0.3%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Retail sales edge up in October
Retail sales edge up in October

Clothing and footwear lead retail sales increase

Higher sales of clothing and footwear contributed to gains at clothing and clothing accessories stores (+1.9%), sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (+4.9%), as well as general merchandise stores (+0.6%). Clothing and clothing accessories account for about one-seventh of sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores and one-tenth of sales at general merchandise stores.

Within the clothing and clothing accessories stores subsector, higher receipts were reported at all store types as sales at clothing stores (+1.8%), shoe stores (+3.6%) and jewellery, luggage and leather goods stores (+1.1%) increased in October.

The gain at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores more than offset declines in August and September.

Following a 0.3% decrease in September, sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers (+0.4%) rose for the eighth time in nine months. The increase in the subsector stemmed from higher sales at used car dealers (+3.3%), with gains registered across most provinces. Sales at new car dealers edged up 0.1% in October. Gains were also reported at automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (+0.5%) as well as other motor vehicle dealers (+0.4%).

After decreasing in September, sales at furniture and home furnishings stores rose 0.5%. Sales at furniture stores were up 1.4%, while home furnishing stores reported a 1.1% decline.

Following two months of gains, receipts at food and beverage stores decreased 1.2% in October. Lower sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores (-0.8%) and beer, wine and liquor stores (-2.5%) contributed in equal measure to the decline. Lower sales were also reported at convenience stores (-2.7%).

Electronics and appliance stores (-2.1%) posted their fourth consecutive monthly sales decrease.

Sales at gasoline stations declined 0.4% in October, reaching their lowest level since January 2015.

Sales up in four provinces

Retail sales were up in four provinces in October. Higher sales in Ontario and, to a much lesser extent, Quebec more than offset lower sales in Alberta, British Columbia and Nova Scotia.

Following declines in August and September, Ontario (+0.5%) reported the largest increase in dollar terms on the strength of higher sales at new car dealers and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores.

Sales were up 0.2% in Quebec, as higher sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores more than offset lower sales at new car dealers.

In New Brunswick (+1.2%), retail sales rose for the eighth time in nine months.

Newfoundland and Labrador (+1.1%) reported the first increase in three months as a result of higher sales at new car dealers.

Receipts in Alberta (-0.8%) declined for the third month in a row, as lower sales were reported at food and beverage stores and clothing and clothing accessories stores.

Sales fell 1.3% in Nova Scotia, as lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers more than offset gains at building material, garden equipment and supplies dealers.

Following a peak in September, sales in British Columbia declined 0.3% in October. This was mainly the result of lower sales at beer, wine and liquor stores and clothing stores.

Tables of unadjusted data by industry and by province and territory are now available from the Summary tables 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 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.

For more information on trend-cycle data, see the StatCan Blog and Trend-cycle estimates – Frequently asked questions.

Real-time CANSIM tables

Real-time CANSIM tables 080-8020 and 080-8024 will be updated on January 8, 2016. For more information, consult the document Real-time CANSIM tables.

Next release

Data on retail trade for November 2015 will be released on January 22, 2016.


The October 2015 issue of Retail Trade (Catalogue number63-005-X) will soon be available.

Contact information

For more information, 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 (613-951-2606;, Retail and Service Industries Division.

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