Retail trade, November 2019
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In November, retail sales rose 0.9% to $51.5 billion, largely offsetting the 1.1% decline in October. The increase was primarily attributable to higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and at food and beverage stores, both of which were down in October.
Higher sales were reported in 6 of 11 subsectors, representing 70% of retail trade.
After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms increased 0.7%.
Higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and at food and beverage stores
The largest contributor to the monthly gain was the motor vehicle and parts dealers subsector (+3.0%). Higher sales were reported at three out of four store types within the subsector, led primarily by new car dealers (+2.8%).
At food and beverage stores, receipts increased 0.9% in November. Gains within the subsector were concentrated at supermarkets and other grocery stores (+1.3%).
Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+2.1%) were up for the first time in the last five months.
Sales at gasoline stations rose 0.2% in November, reflecting in part higher prices at the pump. In volume terms, sales at gasoline stations were down 0.3%.
Sales up in six provinces and all census metropolitan areas
Retail sales in Ontario increased 1.6% in November on higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers. In the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Toronto, sales increased 2.6%.
In Quebec (+1.4%), retail sales were up for the third time in the last four months. In the CMA of Montréal, sales increased 1.6%. Quebec's retail sales growth in November more than offset the decline in October.
Retail sales were up in British Columbia (+1.1%). Higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers as well as at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers contributed to the upward movement. In the CMA of Vancouver, sales increased 1.7%.
In Alberta (-0.9%), retail sales continued to trend downward, reaching $6.6 billion, a level not seen since early 2017. The decline in November was primarily driven by lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers.
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 amounted to $2.4 billion in November, accounting for 4.4% of total retail trade. On a year-over-year basis, retail e-commerce increased 6.6%, while total unadjusted retail sales were up 2.2%.
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.
For information regarding cannabis statistics, consult the Cannabis Stats Hub.
Seasonally adjusted estimates for cannabis store retailers are presented in unadjusted form as there is no seasonal pattern established by official statistics yet. Establishing such a pattern requires several months of observed data. In the interim, the seasonally adjusted estimates for cannabis store retailers will be identical to the unadjusted figures.
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.
Some 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 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 tables 20-10-0054-01 and 20-10-0079-01 will be updated soon.
Data on retail trade for December 2019 will be released on February 21, 2020.
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).