Canada's retail sales at C$61.8B in November, up 5.2% annually, down 0.1% from October; monthly decrease led by lower sales at food and beverage stores and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers: Statistics Canada

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OTTAWA , January 20, 2023 (press release) –

Retail sales decreased 0.1% to $61.8 billion in November. Sales decreased in 6 of 11 subsectors, representing 47.4% of retail trade. The decrease was led by lower sales at food and beverage stores (-1.6%) and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (-3.8%).

Core retail sales—which exclude gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers—decreased 1.1%, their largest decline in 11 months.

In volume terms, retail sales decreased 0.4% in November.

Given the continually evolving economic situation, Statistics Canada is providing an advance estimate of retail sales, which suggests that sales increased 0.5% in December. Owing to its early nature, this figure will be revised. This unofficial estimate was calculated based on responses received from 33.5% of companies surveyed. The average final response rate for the survey over the previous 12 months has been 90.3%.

Chart 1: Retail sales decrease in November

Core retail sales posts its largest decline in 11 months
Posting their largest decrease in 11 months, core retail sales fell 1.1% in November, led by lower sales at food and beverage stores (-1.6%). Decreases were observed in all four store types in this subsector, led by lower sales at supermarkets and other grocery (except convenience) stores (-1.3%). The Consumer Price Index (CPI) noted that prices of food purchased from stores rose 11.4% on a year-over-year basis.

Also contributing to the decline in retail sales in November were lower sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (-3.8%), as this subsector recorded its largest decrease in seven months and coincided with deteriorating housing market conditions.

Sales at general merchandise stores decreased 0.8% in November. According to the Retail Commodity Survey Data Visualization Tool, food is the top commodity sold in this subsector and typically accounts for roughly one-third of sales.

Higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers
Sales were up 1.4% at motor vehicle and parts dealers in November. The increase was observed in all store types within this subsector but was led by higher sales at new car dealers (+1.2%), which saw their fastest pace of growth since June 2022. The increase at this store type followed higher imports of motor vehicles and parts in the second quarter of 2022. Sales at other motor vehicle dealers were up 5.4% in November, after declining in October 2022.

Following the increases seen in October, sales at gasoline stations were up 2.2% in November. In volume terms, sales at gasoline stations increased 3.7%. Gasoline prices fell 3.6% on an unadjusted basis in November following refinery reopenings in the western United States.

Chart 2: Sales decrease in 6 of 11 subsectors in November

Retail sales down in eight provinces
Retail sales decreased in eight provinces in November, led by lower sales in Quebec (-0.5%). Sales were down 1.6% in the Montréal census metropolitan area (CMA).

Retail sales were also down in New Brunswick (-2.0%). Leading the decrease was lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers.

The largest provincial increase in retail sales was observed in British Columbia (+0.9%) and was driven by higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers. In the Vancouver CMA, sales were up 0.9%.

Retail e-commerce sales in Canada
On a seasonally adjusted basis, retail e-commerce sales were down 2.7% in November.

On an unadjusted basis, retail e-commerce sales were down 3.5% year over year to $4.4 billion in November, accounting for 6.5% of total retail trade. The share of e-commerce sales out of total retail sales fell 0.6 percentage points compared with November 2021.

Note to readers
All data in this release are seasonally adjusted and expressed in current dollars, unless otherwise noted.

Seasonally adjusted data are data that have been modified to eliminate the effect of seasonal and calendar influences to allow for more meaningful comparisons of economic conditions from period to period. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

The percentage change for the advance estimate of retail sales is calculated using seasonally adjusted data and is expressed in current dollars.

This early indicator is a special product being provided in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to offer Canadians timely information on the retail sector. The data sources and methodology used are the same as those outlined on the Monthly Retail Trade Survey information page.

Trend-cycle estimates are included in selected charts as a complement to the seasonally adjusted series. These data represent a smoothed version of the seasonally adjusted time series and provide information on longer-term movements, including changes in direction underlying the series. For information on trend-cycle data, see Trend-cycle estimates – Frequently asked questions.

Both seasonally adjusted data and trend-cycle estimates are subject to revision as additional observations become available. These revisions could be extensive and could even lead to a reversal of movement, especially for the reference months near the end of the series or during periods of economic disruption.

Seasonally adjusted estimates for cannabis store retailers are presented in unadjusted form since no seasonal pattern has been established by official statistics yet. Establishing such a pattern requires several months of observed data. In the interim, the seasonally adjusted estimates for cannabis store retailers will be identical to the unadjusted figures.

Statistics Canada's retail e-commerce figures include the electronic sales of two distinct types of retailers. The first type does not have a storefront. These businesses are commonly referred to as pure-play Internet retailers and are classified under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code 45411—electronic shopping and mail-order houses. The second type has a storefront and is commonly referred to as a brick-and-mortar retailer. If the online operations of a brick-and-mortar retailer are separately managed, they, too, are classified under NAICS code 45411.

Some common e-commerce transactions, such as travel and accommodation bookings, ticket purchases, and financial transactions, are not included in Canadian retail sales figures.

For more information on retail e-commerce in Canada, see "Retail E-Commerce in Canada."

Total retail sales expressed in volume terms are calculated by deflating current-dollar values using consumer price indexes.

Find more statistics on retail trade.

Real-time tables
Real-time tables 20-10-0054-01 and 20-10-0079-01 will be updated soon.

Next release
Data on retail trade for December 2022 will be released on February 21, 2023.

Contact information
For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (

Industry Intelligence Editor's Note: This press release omits select charts and/or marketing language for editorial clarity. Click here to view the full report.


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