Issue 17-111: Retail Sales

September 22, 2017

Retail sales in British Columbia grew by 0.7% in July. The increase was concentrated in sales at gasoline stations, sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores, and general merchandise stores. The largest decline in sales was observed at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers.

Nationally, retail activity increased by 0.4% in July, mainly due a rise in sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers (+0.8%), and food and beverage stores (+0.9%). Five of the eleven store types saw lower sales in July, with the largest declines in electronic and appliance stores (‑1.3%) and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (‑0.7%).

Retail sales were up in eight provinces and one territory. The biggest increases among provinces were observed in Prince Edward Island (+3.0%) and Saskatchewan (+1.3%), while Newfoundland and Labrador (‑1.6%) and Alberta (‑0.6%) registered lower retail sales compared to the previous month.

In July, retail sales rose in Vancouver (+1.3%) for the seventh consecutive month. Montreal (+0.9%) also saw higher retail sales in July, while sales in Toronto (‑0.5%) fell. Note that these three census metropolitan areas represent nearly one third of all retail sales in Canada.

Retail E-commerce continues to gain importance, up 46.8% (unadjusted) from the previous year. E-commerce sales represented 2.3% of all retail sales in the country in July, while they accounted for 1.7% of sales in July the previous year.

Source: Statistics Canada