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Retail trade, October 2017

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Released: 2017-12-21

Retail sales — Canada

$49.9 billion

October 2017

1.5% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — N.L.

$0.8 billion

October 2017

2.4% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — P.E.I.

$0.2 billion

October 2017

2.1% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — N.S.

$1.3 billion

October 2017

2.3% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — N.B.

$1.1 billion

October 2017

1.1% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Que.

$10.5 billion

October 2017

1.8% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Ont.

$18.3 billion

October 2017

1.1% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Man.

$1.7 billion

October 2017

1.9% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Sask.

$1.7 billion

October 2017

3.2% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Alta.

$6.8 billion

October 2017

0.8% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — B.C.

$7.3 billion

October 2017

2.0% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales rose 1.5% to $49.9 billion in October. Higher sales at new car dealers were the main contributor to the gain. Excluding sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales increased 0.8%.

Sales were up in 7 of 11 subsectors, representing 79% of retail trade.

After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms increased 1.4%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Retail sales increase in October
Retail sales increase in October

New car dealers lead gain

Motor vehicle and parts dealers (+3.3%) recorded the largest gain in dollar terms across all subsectors. The increase was largely attributable to higher sales at new car dealers (+3.9%). Used car dealers (+1.7%) and automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (+1.2%) also posted higher sales. Sales at other motor vehicle dealers (-0.3%) were down for the third time in four months.

Sales rose 1.1% at food and beverage stores, largely due to higher sales at beer, wine and liquor stores (+3.7%). Gains were also reported at supermarkets and other grocery stores (+0.4%) and convenience stores (+2.2%). Receipts at specialty food stores (-0.6%) declined for the first time in five months.

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

After decreasing 1.4% in September, sales at electronics and appliance stores (+1.4%) rebounded in October.

Gasoline stations (-0.6%) posted their first sales decline in three months. In volume terms, retail sales at gasoline stations were down 0.6%.

Sales up in all provinces

Retail sales were up in every province in October. Higher sales in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia accounted for the majority of the increase.

Ontario (+1.1%) reported the largest gain in dollar terms, increasing for the fourth consecutive month. Retail sales in the Toronto CMA rose 0.7%.

Retail sales in Quebec rose 1.8% in October, led by stronger sales at new car dealers. Retail sales in the Montréal CMA were up 2.2%.

Sales in British Columbia (+2.0%) continued their upward trend in October, rising for the seventh time in eight months. Gains were widespread across most store types. Retail sales in the Vancouver CMA (+1.6%) increased for the ninth time in ten months.

Following two months of declines, retail sales in Saskatchewan grew 3.2%, primarily on the strength of higher sales at new car dealers.

Receipts in Nova Scotia (+2.3%) increased for the fifth time in six months.

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 reached $1.3 billion in October, accounting for 2.6% of total retail trade. On a year-over-year basis, retail e-commerce increased 19.4%, while total unadjusted retail sales rose 7.5%.

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.

The retail sector has seen many transformations over the years. In the past, product offerings at general merchandise stores were highly varied and often included a robust selection of family clothing, furniture, appliances as well as hardware, home furnishings and supplies such as paints, wallpaper, plumbing, heating and building materials.

Over the years, however, the growing trends of both DIY and home-improvement have popularized the retailing of building material and home renovation supplies to households. Retail customers are more personally involved in using their own skills to upkeep or maintain their homes, cars and seasonal dwellings. As a result, an increasing number of building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers have entered the retail sector offering specialized home repair and improvement materials and supplies.

In 1989, hardware, building and finishing supplies accounted for 1.5% of total retail trade and approximately 30% of these commodoties were purchased at general merchandise stores. By 2016, this share had decreased to 11% as the majority of hardware, building and finishing supplies were sold at retailers classified to the building material, garden equipment and supplies dealers subsector. Sales of hardware, building and finishing supplies accounted for 7% of total retail trade in 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

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 January 8, 2018. For more information, consult the document Real-time CANSIM tables.

Next release

Data on retail trade for November 2017 will be released on January 25, 2018.

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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