Issue 18-87 Retail Sales

May 18, 2018

Retail sales in British Columbia (seasonally adjusted) went up by 0.6% in March compared to February, led by higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers. Notable increases were observed in general merchandise stores (including department stores and warehouse clubs), building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, and food and beverage stores.

Nationally, retail activity grew by 0.6% in March. The largest gains were observed in furniture and home furnishing stores (+3.9%) and motor vehicle and parts dealers (+3.0%). Sales in electronic and appliance stores (-2.4%) saw the largest decline in the month.

Retail sales were up in seven provinces in March, with Manitoba (+3.2) reporting the largest gains, while the largest decrease was in Nova Scotia (-2.6%).

All reported census metropolitan areas saw gains in the month, led by Vancouver (+2.4%). Toronto (+1.0%) and Montréal (+2.1%) also posted healthy gains. Note that these three census metropolitan areas represent nearly one third of all retail sales in Canada.

Retail e-commerce continues to grow faster than overall retail sales. Retail e‑commerce was up 11.1% (unadjusted) from the previous year in March, compared to 3.2% growth of all (unadjusted) retail sales.  

Source: Statistics Canada