Retail sales declined 0.5% to $38.9 billion in April, more than offsetting the gain in March. Lower sales were reported in 8 of 11 subsectors, representing 78% of retail sales.
In volume terms, retail sales decreased 0.8%, the third decline in four months.
Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers fell 1.2% in April, more than offsetting the rise in March. Lower receipts at new car dealers (-1.4%) accounted for most of the decrease. Used car dealers (-2.5%) also reported a decline, following four consecutive monthly increases. Sales rose at automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (+1.1%) and other motor vehicle dealers (+0.1%).
Lower retail receipts in certain store types in April largely reflected the advance of spring merchandise sales observed in March.
Following six straight monthly gains, sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores declined 2.8%, with lower sales reported by all store types within this subsector.
General merchandise stores registered a 0.6% decrease. Department store sales declined 1.2%, partially offsetting the gain in March. Sales at other general merchandise stores edged down 0.2%, after advancing for five straight months.
Sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores fell 2.6%, following an increase in March. The decrease largely reflected weaker sales at sporting goods stores.
After two consecutive monthly gains, sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers decreased 0.9%.
Food and beverage store receipts declined 0.3% in April. Lower sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores (-0.5%) accounted for most of the decline.
Gasoline stations (+1.1%) registered higher sales in April, offsetting the decline registered in March.
Sales decline in four provinces
Retail sales declines in April were limited to the four most populous provinces. These provinces account for about 85% of total retail sales.
Ontario (-1.1%) reported the largest decline. This more than offset March’s gain, which was influenced by warmer than usual weather.
Quebec retailers registered a 0.5% sales decrease, a second consecutive monthly decline.
Sales in Alberta edged down 0.2%, after increasing in March.
After three consecutive monthly gains, British Columbia reported a 0.2% decrease.
Sales in Saskatchewan (+0.7%) grew for a third straight month.
The sales gain in Manitoba (+0.3%) followed three months of declines.
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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