Retail sales edged down 0.2% to $38.9 billion in February, largely offsetting the gain in January. New car dealers accounted for most of the decline. Lower sales were reported in 5 of 11 subsectors, representing 57% of total retail sales.
In volume terms, retail sales decreased 0.6%.
Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers fell 2.4%, partially offsetting the rise in January. Lower receipts at new car dealers (-2.8%) accounted for most of the decline. The “other motor vehicle dealers” industry (-3.5%) posted a decrease for a fourth month in a row. Increased sales were reported at automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (+1.3%) and used car dealers (+0.4%).
Food and beverage stores registered a second consecutive monthly decline, edging down 0.2%. Sales were down in all industries within this subsector in February.
Sporting goods, hobby, book and music store receipts (-1.0%) declined for a third month in a row, reflecting lower sales at sporting goods stores.
Following three consecutive monthly declines, sales at gasoline stations rose 1.7% in February, reflecting higher prices at the pump.
Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers increased 2.2%, partially offsetting January’s decline.
For a fifth consecutive month, sales grew at clothing and clothing accessories stores (+1.3%). Higher sales at clothing stores accounted for these gains.
General merchandise store sales rose 0.5% in February. Sales in the “other general merchandise stores” industry (+1.1%) accounted for all of the increase, advancing for a fifth time in six months.
Sales decrease most in Ontario
Retail sales fell in six provinces in February. Ontario (-0.9%) reported the largest decline in dollar terms. Lower sales of new motor vehicles were the main reason for this decrease.
Sales in Alberta decreased 0.6% in February, largely offsetting January’s gain.
Quebec retailers registered a 0.7% rise in sales, a fifth increase in six months.
Sales in British Columbia (+0.4%) rose for a second consecutive month.
Note to readers
All the data in this release are seasonally adjusted and in current dollars, unless otherwise noted.
Unadjusted monthly data were revised back to January 2010, while seasonally adjusted data were revised back to January 2007. The revisions take into account late reporting or correction of respondent information, classification changes, as well as updates to seasonal and trading day factors. With these revisions, the annual sum of seasonally adjusted figures will now correspond to the annual sum of unadjusted data for reference year 2011.
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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