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Retail Sales Increased 1.5% In April: Stat-Can

Retail sales increased 1.1% to $65.9 billion in April. Sales increased in eight of nine subsectors and were led by increases at general merchandise retailers (+3.3%) and food and beverage retailers (+1.5%).

Core retail sales—which exclude gasoline stations and fuel vendors and motor vehicle and parts dealers—increased 1.5% in April.

In volume terms, retail sales increased 0.3% in April.

Chart 1 
Retail sales increase in April

Chart 1: Retail sales increase in April

Core retail sales increase on gains at general merchandise retailers and food and beverage retailers

Core retail sales increased 1.5% in April, posting its fifth consecutive monthly increase. The gain was led by higher sales at general merchandise retailers (+3.3%). Higher sales were also recorded at food and beverage retailers (+1.5%), with all store types in this subsector posting increases.

The largest decrease to core retail sales came from furniture, home furnishings, electronics and appliance retailers (-1.6%). Sales were down in all three store types, with lower sales at electronics and appliance retailers (-1.3%) leading the decline.

Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations and fuel vendors rise

After their decline in March, sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers increased 0.5% in April. The increase was led by higher sales at used car dealers (+3.7%), followed by automotive parts, accessories and tire retailers (+3.5%). The largest decline in this subsector were sales of other motor vehicle dealers (-1.2%), which recorded their second consecutive decrease.

Also contributing to the increase in retail sales in April were higher sales at gasoline stations and fuel vendors (+0.3%). In volume terms, sales at gasoline stations and fuel vendors decreased 1.5%.

Chart 2 
Sales increase in eight of nine subsectors in April

Chart 2: Sales increase in eight of nine subsectors in April

Sales up in eight provinces

Retail sales increased in eight provinces in April. The largest provincial increase was observed in Ontario (+1.3%), led by higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers. In the Toronto census metropolitan area (CMA) , retail sales were up 1.4%.

In Quebec, retail sales increased 0.9% in April. In the Montréal CMA, retail sales were down 0.3%.

The largest provincial decrease in April was observed in Newfoundland and Labrador (-1.1%). The decrease was driven by lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers.

Retail e-commerce sales in Canada

On a seasonally adjusted basis, retail e-commerce sales were down 6.1% to $3.6 billion in April, accounting for 5.5% of total retail trade compared with 5.9% in March.

Advance retail indicator

Statistics Canada is providing an advance estimate of retail sales, which suggests that sales increased 0.5% in May. Owing to its early nature, this figure will be revised. This unofficial estimate was calculated based on responses received from 40.6% of companies surveyed. The average final response rate for the survey over the previous 12 months was 89.2%.

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