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Retail trade, January 2017

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Released: 2017-03-21

Retail sales — Canada

$46.0 billion

January 2017

2.2% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — N.L.

$0.8 billion

January 2017

2.6% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — P.E.I.

$0.2 billion

January 2017

4.3% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — N.S.

$1.2 billion

January 2017

2.1% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — N.B.

$1.0 billion

January 2017

0.1% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Que.

$9.8 billion

January 2017

2.6% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Ont.

$16.6 billion

January 2017

1.7% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Man.

$1.7 billion

January 2017

2.5% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Sask.

$1.7 billion

January 2017

3.7% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Alta.

$6.4 billion

January 2017

2.4% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — B.C.

$6.5 billion

January 2017

2.9% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales rose 2.2% to $46.0 billion in January, led by four subsectors that rebounded from lower sales in December. Excluding sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales advanced 1.7%.

After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms increased 1.3%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Retail sales increase in January
Retail sales increase in January

Nearly all subsectors post higher sales in January, led by motor vehicle and parts dealers

Sales were up in 10 of 11 subsectors in January, representing 98% of retail trade.

The largest increase in dollar terms was a 3.8% advance at motor vehicle and parts dealers, the fourth gain in five months. The increase in this subsector was mainly attributable to new car dealers (+4.2%). Gains were also reported at used car dealers (+4.3%) and other motor vehicle dealers (+4.2%).

Sales at health and personal care stores increased 6.0% in January, more than offsetting the 3.0% decline in December.

Sales at general merchandise stores (+1.8%) rose for the first time in three months.

Receipts at food and beverage stores rose 1.3%. Higher sales were reported at all store types within the subsector. Sales at beer, wine and liquor stores (+3.4%) more than offset December's decline, while sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores (+0.8%) increased for the second month in a row. Sales at convenience stores (+1.2%) rose for the first time in five months.

Sales at gasoline stations (+0.5%) continued their upward trend in January, rising for the seventh time in eight months.

Clothing and clothing accessories store sales increased 1.8% in January, but did not offset the decline in December. Higher sales were reported at all store types within the subsector, as jewellery, luggage and leather goods stores (+17.2%) rebounded from a 13.9% decline in December. Higher sales were also reported at clothing (+0.3%) and shoe (+1.0%) stores.

Following a 3.7% decline in December, sales at electronics and appliance stores (+3.7%) bounced back in January.

Sporting goods, hobby, books and music stores edged down 0.1%, their fourth consecutive monthly sales decline.

Sales up in all provinces

Retail sales were up in every province in January.

Ontario (+1.7%) reported the largest increase in dollar terms. January's gain stemmed from higher sales at new car dealers and, to a lesser extent, health and personal care stores.

Quebec recorded a 2.6% increase in retail sales on widespread gains in most subsectors.

Retail sales in British Columbia grew 2.9% in January, primarily on the strength of higher sales at new car dealers.

Alberta retail sales (+2.4%) increased for the fifth time in six months, due in large part to higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers.

Retail sales rose for the fourth consecutive month in both Saskatchewan (+3.7%) and Manitoba (+2.5%).

In Newfoundland and Labrador (+2.6%), retail sales were up for the second month in a row.

Following weaker sales in December, receipts were up in each of the maritime provinces as gains were observed in Nova Scotia (+2.1%) and Prince Edward Island (+4.3%), while New Brunswick edged up 0.1%.

E-commerce sales by Canadian retailers

The figures in this section are based on unadjusted (that is, not seasonally adjusted) estimates.

On an unadjusted basis, retail e-commerce sales were $1.0 billion in January, accounting for 2.7% of total retail trade. On a year-over-year basis, retail e-commerce increased 17.2%, while total retail trade rose 3.4%.

Telling Canada's story in numbers; #ByTheNumbers

In celebration of the country's 150th birthday, Statistics Canada is presenting snapshots from our rich statistical history.

Collecting data on retail trade in Canada started as early as the 1920s by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics. Lists of retail establishments to be surveyed were created based on information from the decennial census of 1921. The number of completed survey questionnaires, however, was not large enough to provide reliable results for the whole of retail trade. No further attempt was made to collect internal retail trade data until the decennial census of 1931, though estimates of retail trade were later made for the period back to 1923.

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

For information on related indicators, refer to Latest statistics.

  Note to readers

All data in this release are seasonally adjusted and expressed in current dollars, unless otherwise noted. For information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

Statistics Canada's retail e-commerce figures are disseminated in unadjusted form. As a result, one must use caution when comparing retail sales that are seasonally adjusted (CANSIM 080-0020) in the Daily with retail e-commerce figures (CANSIM 080-0033).

Statistics Canada's retail e-commerce figures include the electronic sales of two distinct types of retailers. The first is retailers that do not have a storefront. These businesses are commonly referred to as 'pure-play' Internet retailers and are classified to North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 45411—Electronic Shopping and Mail Order Houses. The second type of retailer is those that have a storefront and are commonly referred to as 'brick and mortar' retailers. If the online operations of a brick and mortar retailer are separately managed, they too are classified to NAICS 45411.

CANSIM 080-0033 represents the Internet sales of Canadian-based retailers. The foreign e-commerce purchases from Canadian-based retailers are included in the Internet sales totals. Conversely, Internet purchases by Canadians from foreign-based retailers are not included in Statistics Canada's retail trade figures.

Common electronic commerce transactions, such as travel and accommodation bookings, ticket purchases and financial transactions are not included in Canadian retail sales figures. For more information on individual Internet use and e-commerce, consult the most recent release of the Canadian Internet Use Survey and/or the Survey of Digital Technology and Internet Use.

For more information on retail e-commerce in Canada, see Retail E-Commerce in Canada.

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 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 April 3. For more information, consult the document Real-time CANSIM tables.

Next release

Data on retail trade for February will be released on April 26.

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 (613-951-0746;, Retail and Service Industries Division.

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