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Retail trade, January 2018

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Released: 2018-03-23

Retail sales — Canada

$49.9 billion

January 2018

0.3% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — N.L.

$0.8 billion

January 2018

-1.1% decrease

(monthly change)

Retail sales — P.E.I.

$0.2 billion

January 2018

1.7% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — N.S.

$1.3 billion

January 2018

1.1% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — N.B.

$1.1 billion

January 2018

-1.3% decrease

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Que.

$10.8 billion

January 2018

-0.8% decrease

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Ont.

$18.2 billion

January 2018

1.2% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Man.

$1.7 billion

January 2018

2.7% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Sask.

$1.7 billion

January 2018

0.5% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Alta.

$6.8 billion

January 2018

0.5% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — B.C.

$7.1 billion

January 2018

-1.0% decrease

(monthly change)

Retail sales increased 0.3% in January to $49.9 billion. General merchandise stores were the largest contributors to the increase.

Sales were up in 7 of 11 subsectors, representing 63% of retail trade. Excluding sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales increased 0.9%.

After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms rose 0.1% in January.

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

Most subsectors report higher sales

Sales at general merchandise stores were up 2.3% in January, following a decline in December.

Electronics and appliance (+4.0%), clothing and clothing accessories (+2.1%) and furniture and home furnishings (+3.4%) stores also contributed to the increase in January, following declines in all three subsectors in December.

Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers were down 1.2%, largely due to lower sales in British Columbia and Quebec. Results were mixed among store types, as sales at new car dealers (-1.6%) and used car dealers (-3.0%) fell, while sales at other motor vehicle dealers (+1.7%) and automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (+3.2%) increased.

Sales up in six provinces, led by Ontario

Retail sales were up in six provinces in January, with Ontario (+1.2%) reporting the largest gain in dollar terms. This was the sixth increase in seven months for Ontario. Receipts in the Toronto census metropolitan area (CMA) rose 1.5%.

Manitoba reported a 2.7% gain, its largest monthly increase since January 2016.

Sales in Quebec (-0.8%) fell for the first time in four months. The Montréal CMA (+0.4%) posted its fourth consecutive monthly increase.

In British Columbia (-1.0%), retail sales decreased for the third consecutive month. Sales in the Vancouver CMA were down 0.4%.

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 $1.3 billion in January, accounting for 3.1% of total retail trade. On a year-over-year basis, retail e-commerce increased 14.8%, while total unadjusted retail sales rose 5.9%.

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

Since the November 2017 release of September data, Laspeyres volume estimates by industry for the Monthly Retail Trade Survey are 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 April 9. For more information, consult the document Real-time CANSIM tables.

Next release

Data on retail trade for February will be released on April 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 Annie Xie (613-951-0385;, Retail and Service Industries Division.

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