Canadian retail sales increased in November 2019, mostly offsetting the decline in October.

In November, Canadian retail sales rose 0.9% to $51.5 billion, largely offsetting the 1.1% decline in October. The increase was primarily attributable to higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and at food and beverage stores, both of which were down in October.

Higher sales were reported in 6 of 11 subsectors, representing 70% of retail trade. After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms increased 0.7%.

Higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and at food and beverage stores
The largest contributor to the monthly gain was the motor vehicle and parts dealers subsector (+3.0%). Higher sales were reported at three out of four store types within the subsector, led primarily by new car dealers (+2.8%).

At food and beverage stores, receipts increased 0.9% in November. Gains within the subsector were concentrated at supermarkets and other grocery stores (+1.3%).

Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+2.1%) were up for the first time in the last five months.

Sales at gasoline stations rose 0.2% in November, reflecting in part higher prices at the pump. In volume terms, sales at gasoline stations were down 0.3%.

Sales up in six provinces and all census metropolitan areas
Retail sales in Ontario increased 1.6% in November on higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers. In the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Toronto, sales increased 2.6%.

In Quebec (+1.4%), retail sales were up for the third time in the last four months. In the CMA of Montréal, sales increased 1.6%. Quebec’s retail sales growth in November more than offset the decline in October.

Retail sales were up in British Columbia (+1.1%). Higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers as well as at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers contributed to the upward movement. In the CMA of Vancouver, sales increased 1.7%.

In Alberta (-0.9%), retail sales continued to trend downward, reaching $6.6 billion, a level not seen since early 2017. The decline in November was primarily driven by lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers.

E-commerce sales by Canadian retailers
On an unadjusted (not seasonally adjusted) basis, retail e-commerce sales amounted to$2.4 billion in November, accounting for 4.4% of total retail trade. On a year-over-year basis, retail e-commerce increased 6.6%, while total unadjusted retail sales were up 2.2%.

Source: Statistics Canada