Retail sales rose 0.5% to $38.9 billion in January, a fifth increase in six months. Excluding sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales declined 0.5%.
In volume terms, sales grew 0.3%, a sixth consecutive month of growth.
Retail sales increase in January
Gains were reported in 5 of 11 subsectors, representing 52% of total retail sales.
Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers rose 3.7%. New car dealers (+4.6%) led the increase, posting their highest monthly growth rate in three years. Higher sales of lower-cost passenger cars were the main contributor to this increase. Gains were also reported at used car dealers (+2.8%) and automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (+1.8%).
General merchandise store sales rose 1.7% in January, more than offsetting a decline in December. After four consecutive monthly declines, sales at department stores increased 2.1%. Sales at other general merchandise stores (+1.4%) rose for a third straight month.
Clothing and clothing accessories stores increased 0.6%, a third increase in four months. Higher sales at shoe stores led the gain, rising 4.2%.
Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (-5.2%) accounted for the largest sales decline in dollar terms in January, offsetting a 4.0% increase in December.
Sales at food and beverage stores decreased 0.9% in January, mainly reflecting lower sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores.
Electronics and appliance stores registered a sales decline of 3.4%, down for a third month in a row.
Sales at gasoline stations (-0.1%) were down for the second consecutive month.
Ontario leads sales gains
Retail sales rose in six provinces in January.
The largest contributor to the gain was Ontario (+1.5%), where sales rose for a third consecutive month. Higher sales of new motor vehicles were the main reason for this gain.
Sales in Alberta (+0.6%) and British Columbia (+0.3%) increased after declining in December.
Following five consecutive monthly gains, retail sales in Quebec declined 0.7% in January.
Sales in Nova Scotia decreased 1.5% in January after increasing in December.
It is possible to consult the tables of unadjusted data by industry and by province and territory from the Tables by subject module of our website.
Note to readers
All the data in this release are seasonally adjusted and in current dollars, unless otherwise noted.
Total retail sales by volume are measured by deflating values in current dollars of the various trade groups using consumer price indexes. This retail sales in chained dollars series (2002) is a chain Fisher volume index with 2002 as the reference year.
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