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Retail trade, September 2017

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Released: 2017-11-23

Retail sales — Canada

$49.1 billion

September 2017

0.1% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — N.L.

$0.8 billion

September 2017

1.8% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — P.E.I.

$0.2 billion

September 2017

-1.5% decrease

(monthly change)

Retail sales — N.S.

$1.3 billion

September 2017

-2.5% decrease

(monthly change)

Retail sales — N.B.

$1.1 billion

September 2017

2.1% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Que.

$10.3 billion

September 2017

-0.5% decrease

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Ont.

$18.1 billion

September 2017

0.5% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Man.

$1.6 billion

September 2017

-1.0% decrease

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Sask.

$1.6 billion

September 2017

-0.8% decrease

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Alta.

$6.7 billion

September 2017

0.3% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — B.C.

$7.1 billion

September 2017

0.4% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales edged up 0.1% to $49.1 billion in September. Higher sales at gasoline stations, particularly due to higher prices, were the main contributor to the gain. Excluding sales in this subsector, retail sales declined 0.2%.

Sales were up in 5 of 11 subsectors, representing 52% of retail trade.

After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms decreased 0.6%.

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

Higher sales at gasoline stations

Receipts at gasoline stations (+2.6%) were up for a second consecutive month. This gain reflected higher prices at the pump, largely due to supply disruptions caused by Hurricane Harvey. In volume terms, sales at gasoline stations declined 2.5%.

Store types traditionally associated with housing purchases and home renovation showed growth in September. Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+2.6%) and furniture and home furnishings stores (+2.3%) more than offset declines seen in August. This was the third gain in four months at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers.

After decreasing 2.5% in August, sales at food and beverage stores were up 0.3% in September. The main contributors to the gain were convenience (+3.7%) and supermarkets and other grocery (+0.3%) stores.

Clothing and clothing accessories stores posted a 2.8% sales decline. The decrease was mainly attributable to clothing stores (-3.4%). Lower sales were reported at shoe stores (-3.7%) for a third consecutive month. Meanwhile, jewellery, luggage and leather goods stores (+3.0%) recorded higher sales for the first time in four months.

Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers were down 0.5% in September. Results were mixed among store types, as lower sales at new (-0.5%) and used (-4.9%) car dealers more than offset the increase at other motor vehicle dealers (+3.9%).

Sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (-1.5%) declined for a fifth consecutive month.

Sales up in five provinces

Retail sales were up in five provinces in September.

Ontario (+0.5%) reported the largest increase in dollar terms, on the strength of higher sales at gasoline stations. Excluding sales in this subsector, retail sales in Ontario decreased in September.

Sales in British Columbia (+0.4%) increased for the sixth time in seven months.

In Alberta (+0.3%), sales were up for the fourth time in six months. Higher sales at new car dealers more than offset lower sales at gasoline stations.

Sales in New Brunswick (+2.1%) increased for the eighth time in nine months.

In Quebec, retail sales decreased 0.5%.

Following four consecutive monthly increases, Nova Scotia (-2.5%) posted lower sales in September, largely as a result of weaker sales at new car dealers.

Retail sales decrease 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.

In September, seasonally adjusted retail sales declined in Montréal (-1.1%) and Toronto (-0.8%), while Vancouver reported a 0.7% gain.

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 totalled $1.2 billion in September, accounting for 2.4% of total retail trade. On a year-over-year basis, retail e-commerce increased 16.7%, while total unadjusted retail sales rose 6.4%.

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

Beginning with the November 2017 release of September data, Laspeyres volume estimates by industry for the Monthly Retail Trade Survey are now available under CANSIM table 080-0027. CANSIM table 080-0024 has been discontinued. Volume estimates and indices in CANSIM table 080-0027 have been revised back to 2012, reflecting a change in the classification of the retail commodity survey to the North American Product Classification System.

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 080-8027 will be updated on December 4. For more information, consult the document Real-time CANSIM tables.

Next release

Data on retail trade for October will be released on December 21.

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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