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Retail Services Price Index, fourth quarter 2017

Released: 2018-05-09

The Retail Services Price Index (RSPI) increased 0.3% in the fourth quarter. The growth was a result of higher margins at general merchandise stores, gasoline stations and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Retail Services Price Index
Retail Services Price Index

Margins were up in 6 of the 10 major retail subsectors, representing 53% of the retail sector surveyed.

Retailers at general merchandise stores posted a margin increase of 2.4%. The gains were concentrated in department stores (+6.4%), mainly as a result of higher selling prices.

Margins at gasoline stations rose 2.3% as a result of higher prices for fuel products such as gasoline. The increase was partly attributable to higher prices for crude oil. According to the Raw Material Price Index, conventional crude oil prices rose 18.3% on a quarterly basis.

Retailers at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers posted margin gains of 1.7%. The growth was concentrated in home centres. Margins in this industry have increased more than 30% since the first quarter of 2012.

Moderating the growth of the RSPI, margins at food stores declined 0.9%. Retailers in this subsector saw broad margin decreases due to lower selling prices.

Year-over-year change

The RSPI increased 2.0% in the fourth quarter compared with the same quarter in 2016, with retailers in 8 of the 10 major retail subsectors posting gains.

Retailers at food stores (+3.3%) contributed the most to the margin increase on a year-over-year basis, as a result of higher selling prices. According to the Consumer Price Index, on a quarterly basis, food purchased from stores was up 1.0% compared with the fourth quarter of 2016.

Health and personal care stores (+3.8%), building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+3.1%) and gasoline stations (+3.2%) also reported year-over-year margin gains.

Lower margins at furniture and home furnishing stores (-1.2%) and electronics and appliance stores (-1.0%) moderated the year-over-year increase of the RSPI.

  Note to readers

The Retail Services Price Index (RSPI) represents the change in the price of the retail service. The price of the retail service is defined as the margin price, which is the difference between the average purchase price and the average selling price of the retail product being priced. The RSPI is not a retail selling price index.

With each release, data for the previous quarter may have been revised. The series are also subject to an annual revision with the release of second quarter data of the following reference year. The indexes are not seasonally adjusted. Data are available at the Canada level only.

Quality indicators

Statistics Canada has undertaken an important initiative for the RSPI.

With the data release of the fourth quarter of 2017, data-quality indicators have been added for indexes where quality is reduced. Many indexes that were previously suppressed are now available, beginning with third quarter of 2017 data.

Data-quality indicators are based on measures of survey precision (standard errors), estimates of market coverage (based on the RSPI sample), and the number of reported price quotes.

Index series without data-quality indicators are considered to be statistically reliable.

Users are encouraged to take into account quality indicators when using RSPI data.

A Historical Timeline of Canadian Producer Price Statistics

The publication "A Historical Timeline of Canadian Producer Price Statistics," which is part of the Prices Analytical Series (Catalogue number62F0014M), was created to showcase the key milestones in the history of Canadian producer price statistics. This historical timeline contains answers to questions such as: Who collected Canada's first statistics? What do Canadian producer price indexes measure?

Infographic: Producer Price Indexes at a Glance

The infographic "Producer Price Indexes at a Glance," which is part of Statistics Canada — Infographics (Catalogue number11-627-M), demonstrates how producer price indexes for goods and services are calculated and why they are important for the Canadian economy.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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