Canada's retail sales reached C$60.6B in December, up 8.6% year-over-year; largest increase came from sales of automotive and household fuels, up 49.5% year-over-year, marking the tenth consecutive sales increase of the commodity class: Statistics Canada

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OTTAWA , March 7, 2022 (press release) –

Retail sales reached $60.6 billion in December, an increase of 8.6% compared with the same month in 2020. Higher sales were reported in 16 of the 19 commodity classes.

The advance estimate provided by the Monthly Retail Trade Survey suggests that unadjusted total retail sales in January 2022 increased by 10.3%. Because of its preliminary nature, this figure will be revised.

Automotive fuels continue to lead growth
In December, the largest year-over-year increase in dollar terms came from sales of automotive and household fuels (+49.5%), marking the commodity class's 10th consecutive sales increase. This gain was spurred by higher prices seen at the pump, with sales of automotive fuels continuing to exceed pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, up 15.5% compared with December 2019.

Receipts of motor vehicles grew by 8.9% in December. Sales of used motor vehicles (+29.4%) continued to rise, marking the subclass's 10th consecutive year-over-year increase. Higher sales of used minivans, sport utility vehicles and light trucks (+36.2%) were the largest contributor to this gain. Sales of new motor vehicles declined by 1.7%, driven mainly by lower sales of new passenger automobiles (-23.7%). Partially offsetting the drops in this subclass were higher sales of new minivans, sport utility vehicles and light trucks (+3.7%).

With continued demand for used vehicles, higher year-over-year sales of motor vehicle parts, accessories and supplies (+11.4%) were reported in December. Receipts for motor vehicle maintenance and repair posted a 9.3% increase in December, as Canadians continue to prolong the life cycle of their vehicles.

Dressed for the holiday season
Clothing sales continued to rise into the holiday season, posting a 36.4% gain in December 2021 over December 2020. All clothing subclasses posted higher sales, and the largest increase was for women's clothing (+39.4%). Sales of men's clothing recorded a 34.0% gain, followed by higher sales in children's and infant clothing (+26.9%). Footwear sales grew 23.1% in December, largely because of sales of men's footwear (+27.5%) and women's footwear (+20.3%).

Sales of soft drinks and alcoholic beverages rose by 5.8% relative to December 2020. This gain was primarily because of an increase in receipts from alcoholic beverages (+6.2%). Food sales grew by 1.6% in December, with all subclasses posting higher sales. Sales of fresh food (+1.5%) and frozen food (+4.8%) were the largest dollar contributors to the growth.

The largest decline in dollar terms for December came from hardware, tools, and renovation and lawn and garden products, sales of which decreased by 1.7% from the same month in 2020. The largest contributor to the drop in this class was lower sales of renovation materials and supplies (-3.7%), with demand for products associated with this subclass returning to pre-pandemic levels. Higher receipts of home lawn and garden equipment and supplies (+13.3%) and hardware and tools (+2.3%) helped offset the decline in this class.

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.

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; 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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