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Retail trade, July 2017

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Released: 2017-09-22

Retail sales — Canada

$49.1 billion

July 2017

0.4% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — N.L.

$0.8 billion

July 2017

-1.6% decrease

(monthly change)

Retail sales — P.E.I.

$0.2 billion

July 2017

3.0% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — N.S.

$1.3 billion

July 2017

0.7% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — N.B.

$1.0 billion

July 2017

0.3% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Que.

$10.5 billion

July 2017

1.0% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Ont.

$17.9 billion

July 2017

0.2% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Man.

$1.6 billion

July 2017

0.2% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Sask.

$1.7 billion

July 2017

1.3% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Alta.

$6.8 billion

July 2017

-0.6% decrease

(monthly change)

Retail sales — B.C.

$7.2 billion

July 2017

0.7% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales rose 0.4% to $49.1 billion in July. Higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and food and beverage stores were the main contributors to the gain.

Sales were up in 6 of 11 subsectors, representing 75% of total retail trade.

After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms decreased 0.2%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Retail sales increase in July
Retail sales increase in July

Higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and food and beverage stores

Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers were up 0.8% in July. Higher sales at new car dealers (+1.4%) accounted for the increase at the subsector level, more than offsetting declines at the other store types. Following gains in June, sales declined at used car dealers (-2.4%), other motor vehicle dealers (-2.7%) and automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (-0.2%).

Receipts at food and beverage stores were up 0.9%, rising for the fourth consecutive month. Higher sales were reported at all store types within the subsector. Sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores (+0.7%) and beer, wine and liquor stores (+1.8%) were the main contributors to the increase.

Health and personal care stores (+0.7%) reported higher sales for the sixth time in seven months.

Sales at miscellaneous store retailers advanced 0.9%, rising for the fourth consecutive month. Stores in this subsector include used merchandise stores, office supplies and stationery stores, and pet and pet supplies stores.

Sales at gasoline stations (-0.3%) were down for the third consecutive month in July.

Following a 1.9% gain in June, building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (-0.2%) posted their first decline in five months.

Sales up in eight provinces

Retail sales were up in eight provinces in July.

Quebec (+1.0%) reported the largest increase in dollar terms, led by higher sales at new car dealers. Excluding sales at new car dealers, retail sales in Quebec decreased.

British Columbia (+0.7%) posted higher sales for the fifth consecutive month.

Sales in Ontario (+0.2%) increased for the fourth time in five months. Higher sales at food and beverage stores and health and personal care stores more than offset lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers.

Following three consecutive months of growth, retail sales in Alberta declined 0.6% in July. Lower sales were reported at motor vehicle and parts dealers.

Sales in Newfoundland and Labrador (-1.6%) decreased for the fifth time in six months.

Retail sales increase in two of three census metropolitan areas measured

Nearly 30% of total retail sales take place in Canada's three largest census metropolitan areas (CMAs): Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver. Historically, only unadjusted data series were available for these CMAs, but starting with the June 2017 release, seasonally adjusted series are now available.

In July, seasonally adjusted retail sales rose in two of the three CMAs measured. Retail sales in Vancouver (+1.3%) and Montréal (+0.9%) increased, while Toronto reported a 0.5% decline.

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 $1.2 billion in July, accounting for 2.3% of total retail trade. On a year-over-year basis, retail e-commerce increased 46.8%, while total unadjusted retail sales rose 6.7%.

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.

Many young adults, particularly youth, find their first job in the retail sector. Retail employment offers the flexibility of accommodating school schedules with shifts during evenings, weekends, and holidays, as many teenagers and young adults attend school either full or part time. Common occupations within the retail sector include cashiers, grocery clerks, sales representatives, and shelf stockers.

Since 1987, the retail sector has continuously employed more 15 to 24 year olds than any other sector of the economy. According to the Labour Force Survey, 22% of jobs held by 15 to 24 year olds in 1987 were in retail. In 2016, approximately one-quarter of jobs held by 15 to 24 year olds were in the retail sector. This proportion has been even higher among 15 to 19 year olds, as roughly one-third of all jobs held by 15 to 19 year olds have been in the retail sector from 1987 to 2016.

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 include the electronic sales of two distinct types of retailers. The first type 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 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.

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 (2012) dollars is a chained Fisher volume index with 2012 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 in the near future. For more information, consult the document Real-time CANSIM tables.

Next release

Data on retail trade for August will be released on October 20.

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 Morgan Roesler (613-951-7541;, Retail and Service Industries Division.

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