Retail trade, November 2017
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Retail sales increased for the third consecutive month in November, rising 0.2% to $50.1 billion. Sales were up in 6 of 11 subsectors, representing 37% of total retail trade.
Higher sales at gasoline stations, electronics and appliance stores and general merchandise stores offset lower receipts at new car dealers. Excluding motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales rose 1.6%.
After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms increased 0.3%.
Retail sales rise on higher sales at gasoline stations and electronics and appliance stores
Receipts at gasoline stations (+5.9%) were up for the third time in four months, largely reflecting higher prices at the pump. According to the Consumer Price Index, the price of gasoline rose 7.4% in November on an unadjusted basis.
Electronics and appliance stores posted a 12.9% sales gain, on the strength of promotional events such as Black Friday coinciding with the timing of new product releases in November.
Sales at general merchandise stores (+1.8%) increased for the third consecutive month.
Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores rose 3.0%. Higher sales were reported at clothing (+2.2%), shoe (+7.4%) and jewellery, luggage and leather goods (+4.0%) stores. This was the fifth increase in six months at clothing stores.
Following a 3.6% gain in October, sales fell at motor vehicle and parts dealers (-3.6%) in November. Lower sales at new car dealers (-5.3%) accounted for the decline at the subsector level, more than offsetting gains at other motor vehicle (+8.8%) and used car (+3.7%) dealers.
Sales up in five provinces, led by Quebec
Retail sales were up in five provinces in November.
Quebec (+0.9%) reported the largest growth in dollar terms, with gains in 9 of 11 subsectors. Retail sales in the Montréal census metropolitan area (CMA) were up 1.2%.
Receipts in Ontario (+0.3%) increased for the fifth consecutive month. Retail sales in the Toronto CMA rose 0.8%.
After three consecutive months of growth, sales in Newfoundland and Labrador declined 3.2%, largely attributable to lower sales at new car dealers.
Following a 1.9% increase in October, sales in British Columbia were relatively unchanged in November. Retail sales in the Vancouver CMA edged down 0.1%, the second decrease in 2017.
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 $1.8 billion in November, accounting for 3.5% of total retail trade—their highest proportion of total retail sales in 2017. On a year-over-year basis, retail e-commerce increased 25.5%, while total unadjusted retail sales rose 7.4%.
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
How do I interpret seasonally adjusted data when or if a series is undergoing a structural change?
In certain circumstances, it can be more difficult to interpret movements in seasonally adjusted data when several factors are simultaneously influencing seasonal patterns (for example, the timing of product releases, popularity of promotional events).
The seasonal pattern reflects repeated movements in recent data. Deviations from the estimated pattern are often interpreted as irregular movements in the short term. If these movements become a regular feature of the data over time, these new seasonal patterns would be gradually incorporated into the seasonality model. New time series information on these changes is necessary to establish a new seasonal pattern.
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
Data on retail trade for December 2017 will be released on February 22, 2018.
For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca).
For analytical information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Jason Aston (613-951-0746; email@example.com), Retail and Service Industries Division.