Canadian retail sales rose 0.3% in April to C$37.4B; excluding automotive sector, sales were flat

OTTAWA , June 21, 2011 () – Retail sales increased 0.3% to $37.4 billion in April. Gains were reported in 6 of 11 subsectors, representing 71% of retail sales. Excluding sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales were flat.

The largest increase among the subsectors in April was registered at motor vehicle and parts dealers (+1.7%). Sales at new car dealers (+1.1%) advanced for a second consecutive month. Gains were also reported at other motor vehicle dealers (+8.3%) and automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (+6.0%). Used car dealers (-2.2%) reported the only decline.

Sales at furniture and home furnishing stores rose 3.2%, more than offsetting the decline in March. Furniture stores accounted for most of the gain, rising 3.9%.

Gasoline station sales rose for a third consecutive month, up 0.5% in April and the 9th increase in 10 months.

Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers registered the largest decline in April, falling 2.8%. Higher than normal precipitation was recorded across Canada.

After increasing for three consecutive months, sales at general merchandise stores were down 0.3%. Declining sales at other general merchandise stores (-1.7%) were offset by gains at department stores (+1.2%).

Sales at electronics and appliance stores decreased 1.2% in April, following a 2.2% rise in March. Sales in this subsector have been relatively flat since the third quarter of 2010.

Sporting goods, hobby, book and music store sales fell 1.2%, a fifth consecutive decrease.
Sales up in half of the provinces

Retail sales rose in five provinces in April. Alberta (+1.6%) posted the largest increase in sales with widespread gains across store types.

Sales in British Columbia rose for a third month in a row, increasing 1.3%.

In dollar terms, Quebec (-0.4%) reported the largest decline in sales. This was the third decrease in four months.

Lower sales were posted in three of the four Atlantic provinces in April. Sales fell in Prince Edward Island (-3.3%), Newfoundland and Labrador (-2.4%) and New Brunswick (-1.9%), after advancing in March.


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