Canada's retail sales reached C$59.2B in March, up 4.2% year-over-year; largest contribution to increase came from sales of automotive and household fuels, up 46.1% year-over-year: Statistics Canada

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OTTAWA , June 7, 2022 (press release) –

Retail sales reached $59.2 billion in March, an increase of 4.2% compared with the same month a year earlier. Higher sales were reported in 11 of the 19 commodity classes.

The advance estimate provided by the Monthly Retail Trade Survey suggests that unadjusted total retail sales in April increased by 8.8%. Because of its preliminary nature, this figure will be revised.

Fuel and clothing sales rise in March
The largest contributor to the increase in March was sales of automotive and household fuels (+46.1%). This was the 13th consecutive year-over-year gain for this commodity class, which was spurred by higher prices at the pump, partly because of uncertainty surrounding supply following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Higher sales were observed in the clothing commodity class in March, up 19.0% from the same month in the previous year. Sales of men's clothing (+32.0%) and women's clothing (+15.5%) were responsible for most of the gain. Sales of footwear also increased in March, rising 8.7% from a year earlier.

Retail sales of food (+3.0%) grew in March, after five months of year-over-year declines. The largest contributors to the growth in this class were fresh food (+3.5%) and frozen food (+8.1%). Sales of soft drinks and alcoholic beverages rose 3.3% from March 2021, led by higher sales of soft drinks and non-alcoholic beverages (+13.5%).

The largest decrease in March was observed in motor vehicle sales, falling 4.0% from the same month a year earlier. Declines in this commodity class were driven by lower sales of new motor vehicles (-13.5%), with sales of new minivans, sport utility vehicles and light trucks (-10.2%) accounting for the bulk of the decrease. Offsetting the declines were higher sales of used motor vehicles (+11.2%).

Note to readers
The Retail Commodity Survey collects national-level retail sales data, by commodity, from the same businesses surveyed in the Monthly Retail Trade Survey. No data have been seasonally adjusted. All percentage changes are year over year.

Starting with the May 2022 release of February data, estimates for the Monthly Retail Trade Survey are being calculated using a new sample. The sample is periodically refreshed to reflect the evolution of the target population since the last sample was drawn. The change is reflected on the Business Register through births, deaths and reclassifications to the survey population. The sample design has also been modified to be more efficient and to allow an increased use of administrative data sources.

Regular annual revisions for 2021 and 2020 and typical historical revisions were also included in the new data series.

The data have been revised using historical linkage factors designed to preserve the continuity of the time series. This linkage method leads to larger revisions for more recent periods.

New retail commodity data for e-commerce now available
Estimates from the Retail Commodity Survey are now available for the electronic shopping and mail-order houses industry (North American Industry Classification System [NAICS] code 454110).

E-commerce figures from brick-and-mortar retailers are included with the retailer's commodity sales. If the online operations of a brick-and-mortar retailer are separately managed, they are classified under NAICS code 45411 (electronic shopping and mail-order houses). Businesses commonly referred to as pure-play Internet retailers are also classified under NAICS code 45411. Total retail sales figures do not include sales from retailers classified under NAICS code 45411.

Find more statistics on retail trade.

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; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@statcan.gc.ca).

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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