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Retail trade, February 2018

Released: 2018-04-20

Retail sales — Canada

$49.8 billion

February 2018

0.4% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — N.L.

$0.8 billion

February 2018

-0.1% decrease

(monthly change)

Retail sales — P.E.I.

$0.2 billion

February 2018

0.1% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — N.S.

$1.4 billion

February 2018

3.2% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — N.B.

$1.1 billion

February 2018

0.0% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Que.

$10.7 billion

February 2018

0.5% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Ont.

$18.3 billion

February 2018

0.7% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Man.

$1.6 billion

February 2018

-1.9% decrease

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Sask.

$1.6 billion

February 2018

0.6% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales — Alta.

$6.7 billion

February 2018

-0.3% decrease

(monthly change)

Retail sales — B.C.

$7.1 billion

February 2018

0.4% increase

(monthly change)

Retail sales increased 0.4% in February to $49.8 billion. Higher sales at new car dealers and general merchandise stores were the main contributors to the gain.

Sales were up in 4 of 11 subsectors, representing 47% of retail trade. Excluding sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales were unchanged.

After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms increased 0.3%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Retail sales increase in February
Retail sales increase in February

New car dealers lead gain

Motor vehicle and parts dealers (+1.4%) was the largest contributor in dollar terms to the increase in February. Both new (+1.8%) and used car (+3.0%) dealers reported gains after posting declines in January.

Sales at general merchandise stores (+2.0%) increased for the fourth time in five months.

After three consecutive monthly declines, sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers rose 2.1%.

Gasoline stations (-0.9%) reported a decrease in sales for the first time since June 2017.

Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores fell 1.4%, as all store types in this subsector posted declines.

Sales at food and beverage stores decreased 0.3%, largely due to lower sales at beer, wine and liquor stores (-2.2%). Lower sales at specialty food (-1.5%) and convenience (-1.0%) stores also contributed to the decline, while sales at supermarket and other grocery stores increased 0.4%.

Sales up in seven provinces

Higher sales in Ontario (+0.7%) accounted for the majority of the gain in February. Sales in the Toronto census metropolitan area (CMA) rose 0.4%, the first increase in four months.

Quebec (+0.5%), Nova Scotia (+3.2%) and British Columbia (+0.4%) all reported higher sales in February after three consecutive monthly declines. Sales in the Montréal CMA decreased 0.8%, while sales in the Vancouver CMA (-1.2%) fell for the fourth consecutive month.

In Manitoba (-1.9%), sales decreased for the third consecutive month, with the largest decline in dollar terms among the provinces in February.

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 $1.1 billion, representing 2.7% of total retail trade. On a year-over-year basis, retail e-commerce increased 14.6%, while total unadjusted retail sales were up 3.9%.

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

With this release, unadjusted monthly data were revised back to January 2012 and seasonally adjusted data were revised back to January 2009 in CANSIM table 080-0020. Factors influencing revisions include late receipt of respondent information, corrections to the information provided, the replacement of estimated figures with actual values (once available), the re-classification of companies within, into and out of the retail trade industry, and updates to seasonal factors. Of note this year is the re-classification of businesses providing telecommunications and/or video entertainment services over network facilities. These businesses have been reclassified from the retail sector to the information and cultural industries sector.

Sales, price, and volume data in CANSIM table 080-0027 have been revised back to January 2009. This table will be further revised with the July 2018 release of May data, in order to incorporate updated weights based on annual revisions to the Retail Commodity Survey.

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 terms 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 30. For more information, consult the document Real-time CANSIM tables.

Next release

Data on retail trade for March will be released on May 18.

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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