Issue 17-132 Retail Sales

October 20, 2017

Retail sales in British Columbia fell by 1.0% in August compared to July, mainly due to a decline in sales at food and beverage, and general merchandise stores. Notable increases were observed at motor vehicle and parts dealers, and clothing and clothing accessories stores.

Nationally, retail activity decreased by 0.3% in August, led by a decline in food and beverage stores (‑2.5%). Eight of eleven store types saw lower sales in the month, with the exception of gasoline stations (+3.1%), motor vehicle and parts dealers (+0.7%) and clothing and clothing accessories stores (+0.5%).

Retail sales were down in six provinces and all territories in August. The largest sales increases among provinces were observed in Nova Scotia (+1.7%) and Manitoba (+1.1%), while the largest declines were in Saskatchewan (‑2.0%) and Quebec (‑1.2%).

Among reported census metropolitan areas, retail sales fell in Vancouver (‑1.1%) and Montreal (‑1.0%), while Toronto (+2.9%) saw gains in August. Note that these three census metropolitan areas represent nearly one third of all retail sales in Canada.

Retail E-commerce continues to gain importance, vastly outpacing overall retail sales growth. Retail E‑commerce was up 41.9% (unadjusted) from the previous year in August, compared to 8.5% growth of all (unadjusted) retail sales.  

Source: Statistics Canada