Retail trade, September 2022
Retail sales decreased 0.5% to $61.1 billion in September. Sales declined in 7 of the 11 subsectors, representing 74.9% of retail trade. The decrease was led by sales at gasoline stations (-2.4%) and food and beverage stores (-1.3%).
Core retail sales—which exclude sales at gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers—decreased 0.4%.
In volume terms, retail sales declined 0.1% in September.
Retail sales were down 1.0% in the third quarter. This was the first quarterly decline since sales fell by 11.9% in the second quarter of 2020. In volume terms, retail sales were down 1.4% in the third quarter of 2022.
Given the continually evolving economic situation, Statistics Canada is providing an advance estimate of retail sales, which suggests that sales increased 1.5% in October. Owing to its early nature, this figure will be revised. This unofficial estimate was calculated based on responses received from 46.4% of companies surveyed. The average final response rate for the survey over the previous 12 months has been 90.4%.
Lower sales at gasoline stations
Leading the decrease in retail sales in September were lower sales at gasoline stations (-2.4%), which recorded their third consecutive decline. In volume terms, sales at gasoline stations increased 4.2%. Gasoline prices fell 7.4% on an unadjusted basis in September, partially stemming from an increase in global crude oil supply.
Sales were relatively unchanged at motor vehicle and parts dealers in September. Lower sales at used car dealers (-3.5%) were offset by higher sales at other motor vehicle dealers (+2.3%) and automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (+0.4%). Sales at new car dealers were flat in September.
Core retail sales decline
Core retail sales decreased 0.4% in September. Leading the decline were lower sales at food and beverage stores (-1.3%). Decreases were observed in three of the four store types, led by lower sales at supermarkets and other grocery (except convenience) stores (-1.6%). The Consumer Price Index noted that prices of food purchased from stores rose 11.4% on a year-over-year basis in September.
Also contributing to the decline were lower sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (-2.0%). This decrease occurred as the Bank of Canada's most recent monetary policy report projected forthcoming weakness in interest-rate-sensitive retail sectors, such as home maintenance and furniture stores. Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, and furniture and home furnishings stores both reported declines in the third quarter.
The largest increase to core retail sales occurred at clothing and clothing accessories stores (+1.7%). Sales were up in all three store types, led by higher sales at clothing stores (+1.5%).
Sales down in seven provinces
Retail sales decreased in seven provinces in September, led by lower sales in Quebec (-1.3%). Sales were down 1.9% in the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Montréal.
Sales decreased 2.0% in British Columbia. Leading the decline in British Columbia were lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers. Sales fell 3.8% in the CMA of Vancouver.
In Alberta, retail sales fell for the second consecutive month (-1.6%), led by lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers.
Retail e-commerce sales in Canada
On a seasonally adjusted basis, retail e-commerce sales were down 5.4% in September.
On an unadjusted basis, retail e-commerce sales were down 0.1% year over year to $3.4 billion in September, accounting for 5.3% of total retail trade. The share of e-commerce sales out of total retail sales fell 0.4 percentage points compared with September 2021.
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 Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.
The percentage change for the advance estimate of retail sales is calculated using seasonally adjusted data and is expressed in current dollars.
This early indicator is a special product being provided in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to offer Canadians timely information on the retail sector. The data sources and methodology used are the same as those outlined on the Monthly Retail Trade Survey information page.
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 and provide information on longer-term movements, including changes in direction underlying 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 extensive and could even lead to a reversal of movement, especially for the reference months near the end of the series or during periods of economic disruption.
Seasonally adjusted estimates for cannabis store retailers are presented in unadjusted form since no seasonal pattern has been 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 does not have a storefront. These businesses are commonly referred to as pure-play Internet retailers and are classified under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code 45411—electronic shopping and mail-order houses. The second type has a storefront and is commonly referred to as a brick-and-mortar retailer. If the online operations of a brick-and-mortar retailer are separately managed, they, too, are classified under NAICS code 45411.
Some common e-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.
Find more statistics on retail trade.
Real-time tables 20-10-0054-01 and 20-10-0079-01 will be updated soon.
Data on retail trade for October will be released on December 20, 2022.
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; firstname.lastname@example.org) or Media Relations (email@example.com).
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