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Wholesale trade, August 2022

Released: 2022-10-14

Wholesale sales — Canada

$81.3 billion

August 2022

1.4% increase

(monthly change)

Wholesale sales — N.L.

$398.7 million

August 2022

1.5% increase

(monthly change)

Wholesale sales — P.E.I.

$123.3 million

August 2022

-2.9% decrease

(monthly change)

Wholesale sales — N.S.

$1,206.3 million

August 2022

-1.5% decrease

(monthly change)

Wholesale sales — N.B.

$791.9 million

August 2022

2.4% increase

(monthly change)

Wholesale sales — Que.

$14,343.7 million

August 2022

2.2% increase

(monthly change)

Wholesale sales — Ont.

$41,017.1 million

August 2022

1.3% increase

(monthly change)

Wholesale sales — Man.

$1,972.3 million

August 2022

-1.5% decrease

(monthly change)

Wholesale sales — Sask.

$4,239.5 million

August 2022

-3.0% decrease

(monthly change)

Wholesale sales — Alta.

$9,060.4 million

August 2022

4.9% increase

(monthly change)

Wholesale sales — B.C.

$8,053.1 million

August 2022

0.1% increase

(monthly change)

Wholesale sales — Y.T.

x

August 2022

x

(monthly change)

Wholesale sales — N.W.T.

$39.8 million

August 2022

2.1% increase

(monthly change)

Wholesale sales — Nvt.

x

August 2022

x

(monthly change)

Wholesale sales rebound, reaching a record high in August

Following a decline in July sales, August wholesale sales increased 1.4% and reached a new high of $81.3 billion. Growth was reported in five of the seven subsectors, representing 86% of wholesale sales. The miscellaneous goods subsector, the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector and the food, beverage and tobacco subsector led the growth for wholesale sales in August.

Constant dollar sales rose 1.2% in August.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Wholesale sales increase in August
Wholesale sales increase in August

Miscellaneous subsector leads the gains for August sales

Sales in the miscellaneous merchant wholesalers subsector rose 3.9% to $12.8 billion in August, its fourth straight increase. Although three of the five industries in the subsector posted lower sales, the agricultural supplies industry's growth of 13.2% to $5.2 billion offset the declines in other industries. This was the fourth consecutive increase for the industry. With the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, demand for Canadian fertilizer remained strong. Exports of Canadian fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemical products remained at higher levels compared with previous years.

The machinery, equipment and supplies subsector continued to record increased sales, up 1.6% to $17.4 billion. The subsector has posted increased sales for 10 of the last 12 months. August was led by strength in the other machinery, equipment and supplies industry (+6.4% to $4.0 billion) and the construction, forestry, mining, and industrial machinery, equipment and supplies industry (+4.0% to $6.0 billion). Partially offsetting the gains for the subsector was a decrease in sales (-4.7% to $5.0 billion) in the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry.

The sales for the food, beverage and tobacco subsector rose 1.8% to $14.5 billion. The food wholesaling industry led the increase, up 1.5% to $12.8 billion. Food prices continued to rise in 2022; the prices of meat, fish and dairy products increased 0.8% in August and 7.3% since the beginning of the year. Prices of fruit, vegetables, feed and other food products increased 1.5% in August and 10.1% since the beginning of the year.

Sales increase in the majority of provinces and territories in August, mainly led by Ontario, Alberta and Quebec

Sales increased in six provinces and one territory in August, with the largest gains seen in Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. Combined, the sales of these three provinces represented 98% of the national level growth.

In Ontario, sales rose 1.3% to $41.0 billion, the highest level recorded for the province. Five of the seven subsectors recorded increased sales, led by the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories (+3.5% to $8.8 billion) and the miscellaneous goods (+4.3% to $5.3 billion) subsectors.

Sales in Alberta increased 4.9% to $9.1 billion, with six out of seven subsectors showing increased sales. The miscellaneous goods subsector led the provincial gains, with an increase of 13.5% to $1.4 billion. Most of the gains came from the agricultural supplies industry, up 14.5% to $0.7 billion, and the chemical (except agricultural) and allied product industry, up 20.8% to $0.5 billion. Additional contributions to provincial growth included a 3.6% increase in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector, and a 5.8% increase in sales in the building material and supplies merchant wholesalers.

Sales in Quebec rose 2.2% to $14.3 billion, with higher sales in five out of seven subsectors. The machinery, equipment and supplies subsector led the gains, up 6.8% to $2.6 billion, followed by the miscellaneous goods subsector, up 9.2% to $1.7 billion.

Inventories continue to increase in August

Inventories rose 1.5% to $123.2 billion, the seventh consecutive monthly increase. Specifically, six of the seven subsectors reported increased inventories, led by the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector, and the building material and supplies subsector. Miscellaneous was the only subsector with a decline, albeit slight, of inventories.

Inventories in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector rose 1.7% to $33.6 billion. This increase was mainly led by the construction, forestry, mining and other machinery and supplies industry. The machinery, equipment and supplies subsector accounts for the largest share of wholesale trade inventories at 27.3%.

In the building material and supplies subsector, inventory levels increased 2.1% to $24.1 billion. The increase was mainly due to electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning equipment and supplies, up 3.7% to $7.0 billion, followed by the metal services centres industry, where inventories grew 2.4% to $6.9 billion.

The personal and household goods subsector also contributed to the rise in inventory levels with a 1.9% increase to $19.8 billion. This growth was largely due to the textile, clothing and footwear industry, with an increase of 11.4% to $3.9 billion.

The inventory-to-sales ratio remained 1.52 in August. This ratio is a measure of the time (in months) required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current levels.




  Note to readers

All data in this release are seasonally adjusted and expressed in current dollars unless otherwise noted.

Seasonally adjusted data are data that have been modified to eliminate the effect of seasonal and calendar influences to allow for more meaningful comparisons of economic conditions from period to period. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Section 2: Issues related to analysis and interpretation.

Trend-cycle estimates are included in selected charts as a complement to the seasonally adjusted series. These data represent a smoothed version of the Seasonally adjusted time series (see Section 1: Concepts and definitions) and provide information on longer-term movements, including underlying changes in direction in the series. For information on trend-cycle data, see Trend-cycle estimates – Frequently asked questions.

Both seasonally adjusted data and trend-cycle estimates are subject to revision as additional observations become available. These revisions could be large and could even lead to a reversal of movement, especially for reference months near the end of the series or during periods of economic disruptions.

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 "Deflation of wholesale sales."

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).

Real-time data tables

Real-time data tables 20-10-0019-01, 20-10-0020-01 and 20-10-0005-01 will be updated soon.

Next release

Wholesale trade data for September 2022 will be released on November 15, 2022.

Products

The product "Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey: Interactive Tool" (Catalogue number71-607-X) is available online. This product is based on the data published in the tables of the Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey: 20-10-0074-01, 20-10-0076-01 and 20-10-0003-01.

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; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@statcan.gc.ca).

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