Wholesale trade, July 2019
Wholesale sales rose for a second consecutive month in July, up 1.7% to $65.4 billion. While four of the seven subsectors, representing 64% of wholesale sales, reported increases, the personal and household goods subsector and the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector contributed the most. This was the sixth increase in the first seven months of 2019.
In volume terms, wholesale sales increased 1.9% from June to July.
The personal and household goods and the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsectors contribute the most to the increase in July
The personal and household goods subsector advanced 4.7% to $9.7 billion in July after edging down 0.3% in June. Although all industries in the subsector—except the home furnishing industry—reported higher sales, the gains were due primarily to the pharmaceuticals and pharmacy supplies industry. Sales in this industry grew 7.3% to $5.0 billion, more than offsetting the declines in the previous two months. Record-high imports of pharmaceutical products (+19.7%) in July contributed to the increase.
Following two consecutive declines, sales in the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector rose 4.0% to $11.4 billion. Sales increased in all industries, with the motor vehicle industry being the top contributor (+4.8% to $9.0 billion). This was the highest monthly increase for July in 10 years.
Higher sales were also reported in the miscellaneous subsector (+3.6% to $8.4 billion) and the food, beverage and tobacco subsector (+0.8% to $12.2 billion).
Sales declined in the machinery, equipment and supplies (-1.1% to $13.7 billion), building material and supplies (-0.2% to $9.0 billion) and farm product (-0.2% to $839 million) subsectors.
Ontario accounts for most of the gains
Sales increased in five provinces in July, although Ontario accounted for most of the gains.
Ontario recorded a third increase in four months, with sales up 3.3% to $33.9 billion in July. Higher sales were recorded in six of seven subsectors, led by the personal and household goods subsector (+7.6%) and the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector (+4.1%). The personal and household goods subsector recorded a sixth monthly increase for 2019, while the motor vehicle and parts subsector rebounded, following two consecutive monthly declines.
Quebec recorded the second-largest dollar increase among the provinces, up 0.8% to $12.2 billion. Three of seven subsectors posted higher sales in July, led by the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector (+5.7%) and the food, beverage and tobacco subsector (+2.8%). As in Ontario, the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector increased following two consecutive monthly declines. The increase observed in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector offset the declines in the previous two months.
Sales in British Columbia rose 1.2% to $6.5 billion in July, a fourth increase in five months. Gains in the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector (+6.4%) led the monthly increase, followed by gains in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector (+2.2%). The food, beverage and tobacco subsector rose for the fifth consecutive month, increasing 8.8% in total over that period.
Alberta recorded the largest provincial decline, down 2.0% to $6.8 billion in July. Lower sales in Alberta were attributable mainly to a decline in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector, down 4.3% to $2.1 billion. Sales in this subsector are largely dependent on the timing of projects and on the value of goods sold.
Inventories continue to climb in July
Wholesale inventories increased 0.5% to $94.0 billion in July, an 11th consecutive monthly gain. Growth was recorded in five of seven subsectors, which together represented 87% of total wholesale inventories.
Inventories in the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector increased for the third consecutive month, up 1.6%. This increase was almost entirely the result of increased levels of stock in the motor vehicle industry.
In the building material and supplies subsector, inventories rose for the fourth time in five months, up 0.6% in July.
Inventories in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector increased for the sixth consecutive month (+0.2%), led by the construction, forestry, mining, and industrial machinery, equipment and supplies industry.
The inventory-to-sales ratio decreased from 1.45 in June to 1.44 in July. This ratio is a measure of the time in months required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level.
Note to readers
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.
Total wholesale sales expressed in volume are calculated by deflating current dollar values using relevant price indexes. The wholesale sales series in chained (2012) dollars is a chained Fisher volume index with 2012 as the reference year. For more information, see Sales in volume for Wholesale Trade.
The Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey covers all industries within the wholesale trade sector as defined by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), with the exception of oilseed and grain merchant wholesalers (NAICS 41112), petroleum and petroleum products merchant wholesalers (NAICS 412), and business-to-business electronic markets, and agents and brokers (NAICS 419).
For information on trend-cycle data, see the StatCan Blog and Trend-cycle estimates – Frequently asked questions.
Real-time data tables
Real-time data tables 20-10-0019-01, 20-10-0020-01 and 20-10-0005-01 will be updated on October 7.
Wholesale trade data for August will be released on October 23.
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; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).